A Beitbridge husband and wife who were arrested in June 2020 for sharing a photoshopped nude picture of President Emmerson Mnangagwa have been set free by Magistrate Takudzwa Gwazemba.
Sarudzayi Ambiri Jani, 39, and Remember Simbarashe Ncube, 35, were arrested on 12 June last year and charged with undermining the authority of or insulting the president in contravention of the Criminal Law Act.
According to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), Magistrate Gwazemba recently removed Jani and Ncube from remand as the State failed to put them on trial 17 months after they were arrested.
The couple was represented by Patrick Tererai of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
Police officers who arrested the couple claimed that they made an abusive, indecent or obscene statement about Mnangagwa that may engender feelings of hostility towards him, with the knowledge that the statement is false, TimesLive reported at the time.
The couple allegedly shared a nude picture of Mnangagwa wearing Zanu-PF regalia around his neck with a male organ adorned with a mask at its end on a WhatsApp group for residents in Ward 3 of Beitbridge.
Chief Inspector Kenneth Mushongahande of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, who is a member of the residents’ WhatsApp group, reported the couple to law enforcement agents, who arrested and detained them overnight at Beitbridge Urban Police Station.
Mushongahande said police officers “hunted” and arrested the couple, who had no right to publish the Photoshopped picture.