WOMEN ACQUITTED AFTER DISCRIMINATORY ARREST FOR PROSTITUTION

WOMEN ACQUITTED AFTER DISCRIMINATORY ARREST FOR PROSTITUTION

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A ZIMBABWEAN court has shamed the police and prosecuting authorities after acquitting seven women, who had been arrested and prosecuted for soliciting for prostitution in a case which exposes the ill-treatment of women as second class citizens in the country.

The seven women namely Tanaka Dzoro aged 18 years, Martha Chirume aged 22 years, Sharon Mapurisa aged 21 years, Fortunate Chauraya aged 28 years, Stabile Mpandile aged 20 years, Cynthia Chihota aged 35 years and Natasha Siziba aged 21 years, who are residents of Masvingo, were arrested on 17 April 2024 at Mucheke bus terminus by Zimbabwe Republic Police officers, who charged them with soliciting for prostitution as defined in section 81 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

During trial, which commenced on 22 April 2024 at Masvingo Magistrates Court, prosecutors alleged that Dzoro, Chirume, Mapurisa, Chauraya, Mpandile, Chihota and Siziba, were arrested by ZRP officers from Chikato Police Station, who included Sergeant Dube and Constable Dzingira, when they were indecently dressed while soliciting for sex.

The prosecutors claimed that the seven women, who were represented by Collen Maboke of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, had no right to act in the manner that they allegedly did.

However, Masvingo Magistrate Mudzingo on 29 April 2024 acquitted Dzoro, Chirume, Mapurisa, Chauraya, Mpandile, Chihota and Siziba at the close of the prosecution case after finding them not guilty of committing the alleged offence of soliciting.

Magistrate Mudzingo ruled that there were several inconsistencies in the testimony of ZRP officers, who testified as state witnesses during trial and that prosecutors had failed to bring to court some witnesses, who should have been offering their services to the women allegedly soliciting for sex.

In intervening to assist the seven women, ZLHR felt that their arrest by ZRP officers, was discriminatory as it only targeted women because of their gender.

ENDS

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
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www.zlhr.org.zw
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