Zimbabwean First Lady Seeks Immunity After Alleged Hotel Assault

Grace Mugabe seeks immunity in S Africa assault case

The charges appear to stem from a press conference Matemadanda gave last month, at which he criticised the First Lady for urging her husband to name a successor.

Engels said she was in a hotel room with Mugabe's two adult sons when the attack took place.

News24 published a picture of what it said was Engels with a large gash in her forehead.

Gabriella Engels registered a case with police on Monday accusing Mugabe of attacking her with an extension cord in a luxury hotel in a Johannesburg suburb late on Sunday evening.

South African police issued a statement yesterday, however, claiming that she was still in the country.

Article 31 of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations says that immunity from criminal, civil and administrative charges under the jurisdiction of a host state applies only to "an action relating to any professional or commercial activity exercised by the diplomatic agent in the receiving state outside his or her official functions".

Fincham added: "They're no longer here".

The ministry noted that "the suspect's lawyers and her government representatives made verbal representations to SAPS (South African Police Services) investigators that the suspect wished to invoke diplomatic immunity cover and thus she elected to change her mind" about giving a warned statement to the police.

"Our position was that she must go to court".

Mrs. Mugabe, the second wife of Mr. Mugabe, 93, is a main contender in the fierce jockeying to succeed the president, leaving opposition leaders and even members of his governing party, the Africa National Union Patriotic Front, uneasy.

Documents seen by The Telegraph show that Mrs Mugabe, who is now facing allegations that she beat up a woman in Johannesburg, recently spent about £4 million on a mansion in one of south Africa's richest suburbs.

The 37th SADC Summit here in Pretoria will see Angolan president, Eduardo Dos Santos and Seretse Ian Khama present their farewell speeches as their terms are due to end this year.

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