Alleged rapists on fresh charges

The three women who were arrested in the city last year and accused of sexually attacking male hitchhikers are now facing a fresh charge.

Upon their initial arrest, which was heavily publicised in the media, the three-sisters Sophie, 26, Netsai Nhokwara, 24 and Rosemary Chakwizira, 28, and a male counterpart, Thulani Ngwenya, 24, were jointly charged on 17 counts of aggravated indecent assault.

This followed an incident in which their vehicle was involved in an accident and police recovered used condoms inside it which they then linked to cases of men who were being raped along the major highways.

However, the case was thrown out by a Harare magistrate after the state failed to produce results of DNA tests of the semen which was sent to the South African Police Services Forensic Science laboratory in Pretoria.

The Zimbabwean can reveal that the three women have been since charged on fresh allegations of soliciting for prostitution. The case is before magistrate Mildred Mutuvi.

According to state papers, six witnesses have been lined up to testify that the women were involved in prostitution at a local nightclub. However, Zimbabwe Human Rights Lawyer Reginald Chidawanyika said the women would not be convicted on the fresh charge.

Women rights groups have already protested against the way in which the case of the three women is being handled amid concerns their rights were infringed.

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