Zimbabwe court denies bail to top human rights lawyer

A Zimbabwean magistrate says bail has been denied to a prominent human rights lawyer and must stay in jail until April.

The Harare magistrate said Wednesday that Beatrice Mtetwa, a citizen of Swaziland, is a flight risk and must be held in jail until her next court appearance.

Mtetwa was arrested Sunday and is charged with obstructing justice for trying to give legal representation to four officials in the party of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who were being arrested by police.

Police say that Mtetwa shouted at them. Mtetwa says that she merely told police that they were violating her clients' rights by carrying out illegal searches. The four officials were also denied bail.

Mtetwa's prolonged period in jail is seen as a crackdown on critics of President Robert Mugabe.