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‘Female rapists’ back in court


Lawyers for three Zimbabwean women accused of raping male hitch-hikers to collect semen for rituals accused prosecutors yesterday of having no evidence or witnesses, as the high-profile trial was delayed.

“Four months down the line, the State still has no docket,” Dumisani Mthombeni, the lawyer for two of the accused, told the Harare Magistrates’ Court, which set the trial for next Thursday.

Sisters Sophie and Netsai Nhokwara and Rosemary Chakwizira were arrested in October after police found 31 used condoms in the boot of their car.

Mthombeni told the packed courtroom the defence had reluctantly agreed to a postponement.

“They have to be acquitted on the merits. We want to go to trial,” he later told reporters.

The trio’s lawyers claimed the State was dragging its feet to avoid revealing it had no case against the women who had been “paraded on national television as the female rapists”.

“The whole country was in a state of disbelief that these things were happening.

“The police force got a lot of credit for having finally apprehended the culprits. At the end of the day there was over-excitement, over-sensationalisation of the issue,” Mthombeni said.

Reports of women “still pouncing on innocent and unsuspecting men” had followed their arrests, he added.

The three women appeared with Thulani Ngwenya, a boyfriend to one of them. All are out on $300 bail each. The women are accused of forcing themselves on 17 men.

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