Ellen Chademana, the other Zimbabwe LGBT activist arrested for possessing pornography following the May 21 police raid on the offices of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ), has pleaded not guilty at the start of her trial.
On Monday, the state presented a file to Harare Magistrate Don Ndirowei which was allegedly recovered from a filing cabinet in the GALZ offices and allegedly contained pictures of men engaging in sex.
Lawyers for Chademana, who is an employee of GALZ, told the court that their client was not in personal possession of the material in question and that she was not even at the office at the time of the raid.
Chademana was apparently called in to the office following the raid and arrested along with fellow GALZ employee Ignatius Mhambi. The latter was acquitted of similar charges late last month in a seperate trial.
Both still face additional charges of “undermining authority of or insulting [the] president” stemming from a placard displayed in the GALZ offices in which former San Francisco Mayor Willie Lewis Brown, Jr denounces President Mugabe’s homophobia against gays and lesbians.
The raid and arrests are widely seen as state-sanctioned harassment against the LGBT community in Zimbabwe where homosexuality remains illegal with penalties including jail-time.
Chademana’s possession of pornography trial will resume today.