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Page last updated at 08:39 GMT, Sunday, 22 March 2009

No attack charges for Mugabe wife

File photo of Grace Mugabe, April 2008
Grace Mugabe has been married to Zimbabwe's leader since 1996

The wife of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has been granted immunity over an alleged attack against a British photographer in Hong Kong.

Photographer Richard Jones says he suffered cuts and bruises after Grace Mugabe punched him while wearing a diamond-studded ring on 15 January.

He says he was taking photos of 43-year-old Mrs Mugabe near a luxury hotel for the Sunday Times newspaper.

Mrs Mugabe is immune under Chinese diplomatic rules, officials said.

Mr Jones had been working on a report about Mrs Mugabe's "extravagant holiday in the Far East that was in stark contrast to the lifestyle of the people of Zimbabwe", according to an article on the Times website.

Michael Sheridan, Far East correspondent for the Sunday Times, said the paper had employed lawyers "to ensure that all the necessary evidence for a prosecution was available to the police".

"Diplomatic immunity should not be a shield for unacceptable and illegal behaviour," he said.

A lawyer for Mr Jones said CCTV footage and witness statements provided strong evidence for his case.

President Robert Mugabe, 85, recently entered a power-sharing agreement with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

The country is facing economic collapse.



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