Zimbabwe's first lady denies assault, says she was attackedSeptember 12, 2017 12:38pm

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Representatives of Zimbabwe's first lady say a young woman who accused her of assault was the actual aggressor, allegedly attacking Grace Mugabe with a knife while drunk, according to a court document filed in South Africa.

The court papers denying any wrongdoing by Mugabe were submitted Aug. 17 by Zimbabwean diplomats on behalf of Mugabe, who was granted diplomatic immunity by South Africa despite calls for her prosecution in the alleged attack on the woman in a Johannesburg hotel on Aug. 13. She returned to Zimbabwe a week after the alleged assault with President Robert Mugabe, who had attended a summit of southern African leaders in Pretoria.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the court document on Tuesday from AfriForum, a group representing 20-year-old Gabriella Engels, who said she suffered head wounds while being whipped with an extension cord by 52-year-old Grace Mugabe. AfriForum has said it will challenge the South African government over the immunity issue in an attempt to complicate any effort by the first lady to return to South Africa.

Grace Mugabe went to see her sons in a hotel suite because they were "in trouble with a drunken young woman," says the court document filed by Zimbabwean diplomats.

"Upon her arrival Ms. Engels, who was intoxicated, and unhinged, attacked Dr. Grace Mugabe with a knife after she was asked to leave the hotel room. Security was left with no other option but to remove Ms. Engels from the hotel suite," according to the court filing.

Mugabe "reserves the right to press charges of attempted murder" against Engels, the document says.

Engels has said she was in a hotel room with mutual friends of Mugabe's two sons, who live in Johannesburg, when the first lady burst into the room and assaulted her. Photos posted on social media show a bloody gash to Engels' forehead that she claims was a result of the encounter.

In 2009, a photographer accused Mugabe of beating him up in Hong Kong. While the Zimbabwean president's outspoken wife has been criticized for a fiery temper and lavish shopping expeditions, her rising political profile has some asking whether she is maneuvering to succeed her husband. She recently said that Zimbabwe's ruling party should restore a constitutional provision stating one of the party's vice presidents should be a woman, and has publicly challenged her 93-year-old husband to name a successor.


Follow Christopher Torchia on Twitter at www.twitter.com/torchiachris

Page 1 of 1

More Stories Like This

Finnish police: Likely suicide attempt outside parliamentPolice in Helsinki say it believes two people stabbed themselves in their stomach on the steps outside the Finnish parliament in an apparent suicide attempt
Manslaughter charge against ex-mayoral aide's son is droppedProsecutors have dropped a manslaughter charge against the son of a former aide to Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's wife in the stabbing of a teenager in New Jersey
German court sends ax attacker to psychiatric hospitalA German court has sent a man who randomly attacked passengers with an ax at Duesseldorf's main train station in March to a psychiatric hospital indefinitely
FILE - This is a Friday, Sept. 15, 2017  file photo of an image made from video showing burning items in underground train at the scene of an explosion at Parsons Green station in London. An explosion at Parsons Green train station sent commuters stampeding in panic, injuring several people at the height of London's morning rush hour. London's police chief Cessida Dick said Friday Sept 22, 2017 that the bomb that failed to detonate last week in a London subway car at Parsons Green was loaded with explosives and shrapnel. (Sylvain Pennec via AP, File)
The Latest: UK police charge man with London subway blast
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina addresses the United Nations General Assembly, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, at the U.N. headquarters. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
The Latest: Bangladesh PM accuses Myanmar of laying mines
In this Friday, Sept. 22, 2017 photo, Nigerian playwright and author Wole Soyinka, speaks during a media conference in Johannesburg, South Africa. Nobel laureate Soyinka says being an itinerant teacher has become "a way of life" as he takes up a post as visiting professor at the University of Johannesburg. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
On the road: Nobel laureate Soyinka to teach in South Africa
This component is currently unavailable.

Related Searches

Related Searches