Mugabe WhatsApp lady case deferred

HARARE - The trial of a Bulawayo woman arrested for sending a nude picture of President Robert Mugabe via the WhatsApp social networking site to a friend was yesterday deferred to May 14.

Shantel Rusike, whose case has been on court records since December last year, appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Witness Mtwetwa facing charges of causing hatred, contempt or ridicule of the president as defined in section (33) (2) (a) (ii) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

The accused is on $100 bail and was not formally charged.

According to State prosecutor Vivianah Chikomo, the 20 year-old shop-assistant is set to reappear in court in a fortnight where a trial date is expected to be set.

It is the State’s case that on Christmas Eve at about 10:49pm, Rusike uploaded a picture on WhatsApp depicting a nude Mugabe to a colleague identified as Precious Tshuma.

Underneath the picture was written: “Robert Mugabe turning 87 years on 21 February 2011; Happy birthday, Matibili Operation.”

The picture was intercepted after an informant alerted security agents, leading to her arrest.

As part of her bail conditions Rusike was advised to stick to the bail conditions where she is supposed to remain at her given address as well as reporting once every week on Mondays at Bulawayo Central Police Station until the case is finalised.

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