Harare - The fate of a Zimbabwean high court judge who
angered authorities by ordering the release of a prominent rights lawyer will
now be decided by President Robert Mugabe, state media said on Wednesday.
Citing unnamed sources, the government controlled Herald
newspaper said the case of Justice Charles Hungwe will be referred to the
president by the head of the high court.
Hungwe has been under fire since his decision last month to
order the release of lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, who was detained during a police
raid on the offices of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
The authorities initially ignored Hungwe's order, although
Mtetwa was later freed on bail.
Hungwe is also said to have ordered an investigation of
corruption on the part of government ministers from Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and
to have delayed sentencing of a man convicted for armed robbery and murder
after the case file went missing.
The judge was subsequently charged with misconduct in
relation to a case he handled 10 years ago.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and the Law Society of
Zimbabwe have described the charges as a ploy to silence Hungwe and instil fear
in lawyers and other judicial officers.
According to the Zimbabwean constitution, Mugabe can now
order an investigation on Hungwe and appoints a tribunal to hear the case
Judges in Zimbabwe are appointed by the president at the
recommendation of the Judicial Services Commission.