Ellen Chademana arrives at court.
An employee of a Zimbabwean LGBT activist group will receive judgement early next month after being tried for possessing pornography.
Ellen Chademana, a receptionist, was arrested in May following a police raid on the offices of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) in Harare.
In July, Ignatius Muhambi, another GALZ employee who was tried separately, was acquitted of the same charge of possessing pornographic pictures.
Attempts by Chademana’s lawyers to have the court dismiss her charges failed and her trial went ahead and concluded earlier this month.
Harare Magistrate Don Ndirowei is set to announce his judgment on the 9th of December.
During the trial, Chademana testified that she was not present during the police raid at which the allegedly pornographic material was found in a folder. She also insisted that she had not been aware of its contents.
“To my surprise when I got to the office, as soon as I got [out] my car I was ordered to switch off my cell phone, and I was whisked into the offices. Everything was in a mess indicating that there had been a search earlier on,” said Chademana.
“I was notified by the police that during the search which had been conducted in my absence, the police had found on my work station a file written ’Gender Minutes 2006 and 2007’ which allegedly contained a pornographic picture.”
Her lawyers have argued that the state has not shown that the pictures are pornographic and that witnesses have confirmed that she was not in possession of the folder at the time it was found.
Activists say that the raid and arrests are state-sanctioned harassment against the LGBT community in Zimbabwe where homosexuality remains illegal – with penalties including jail-time.