LEGAL practitioners should have a date with prisons at some point during their profession so that they fully comprehend the implications of a conviction in a client’s life, a prominent human rights lawyer has said.
Highly decorated lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, who herself spent over a week in Zimbabwe’s major remand prison, said lawyers who have a jail experience usually take their cases more seriously.
“Once you have been, you try much harder,” Zimbabwe’s top human rights activist Mtetwa said while appearing on the TV Show, Tonight with Zororo recently.
“I was allowed to be a lawyer, and I had a queue of women who needed legal representation, and I was able to follow up on their cases when I got out,” she said relieving her experience at Chikurubi Maximum Security Female Remand Prison in 2013.
Mtetwa is internationally recognized for her defence of journalists, political activists and press freedom.
She has defended many local and foreign journalists, particularly during Zimbabwe’s turbulent elections.
In the documentary, Beatrice Mtetwa and the Rule of Law, she describes her activism as focused on ensuring justice to deserving Zimbabweans.
“(It’s) not because there is any glory or cash to it and not because I’m trying to antagonize the government… I’m doing it because it’s a job that’s got to be done”.
She has received several awards for her outstanding contribution to freedom of expression. In 2014 she was honoured among 10 extraordinary women from 10 countries presented with the US Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award where she shared a moment with the country’s first lady Michelle Obama.
Tonight With Zororo: Episode 6