SHE occasionally ventures into deep waters where few lawyers dare to tread, but the nightmares that accompany such sojourns have tested her resilience, character and faith in her chosen profession.
Following her arrest on Sunday while representing staffers from Prime Minister (PM) Morgan Tsvangirai's Office, police continued to detain Beatrice Mtetwa, even though the High Court had issued an order for her release, raising questions as to the true motive of her detention. Yesterday she was denied bail and remanded in custody to April 3 by a Harare magistrate.
"People who do things under the cover of darkness are afraid of light. So, if you come at midnight I'll be there with my headlights glaring," the top lawyer says at the beginning of a new film she features titled: Beatrice Mtetwa and the rule of law.
And for sure for more than a decade since concerns about failure to adhere to the rule of law in Zimbabwe started emerging, her headlights have been glaring.
Mtetwa has defended dozens of journalists, in the process frustrating those working against freedom of expression and access to information.
She has also successfully defended PM Tsvangirai and hordes of other officials from his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) party, saving them jail time and crushing hopes of a one party State.
However, her quest for justice has come at a price.
In May 2007, Mtetwa was unlawfully detained and severely assaulted by the police after participating in a demonstration called by the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ).
There have also been attempts to break her spirit in the State media through hate speech.
She has been labelled ugly, the belly of the beast among other names meant at public derision.
"They've called me ugly, dull, lonely and dejected. It's discriminatory. I can't imagine they would have done the same thing to a male Law Society president," she told The Lawyer magazine in 2007 when she was the head of the LSZ.
Despite the persecution, her efforts have not gone unnoticed locally, regionally and internationally.
Within the Southern African Deve-lopment Community region, Mtetwa was awarded the 2009 Sydney and Felicia Kentridge award from South Africa's General Council of the Bar, while internationally she has been awarded the 2008 Lifetime Achievement award from the Committee to Protect Journalists and the 2003 Liberty/Justice and Law society Human rights Lawyer of the year award, among others.
Mtetwa received her Bachelor of Laws from the University of Botswana and Swaziland in 1981 and spent the next two years working as a prosecuting attorney in Swaziland.
In 1983, she moved to Zimbabwe, where she continued working as a prosecutor until 1989.
That year, she went into private practice, and soon began specialising in human rights law.
In one of her more notable cases, she successfully challenged a section of Zimbabwe's Private Voluntary Organisations Act which allowed a government minister the authority to dissolve or replace the board members of non-governmental organisations.
She also challenged the results of 37 districts in the 2000 parliamentary elections.
In a PBS documentary, Mtetwa described her motives for her activism as "not because there is any glory or cash to it and not because I'm trying to antagonise the government... I'm doing it because it's a job that's got to be done."
Mtetwa is particularly noted for her defence of arrested journalists, both local and international.
In 2003, for example, she won a court order preventing the deportation of Guardian reporter, Andrew Meldrum, presenting it to security officials at Harare International Airport only minutes before Meldrum's plane was scheduled to depart.
She also won acquittals for detained reporters Toby Harnden and Julian Simmonds from Lon-don's Sunday Telegraph, who had been arrested during coverage of the April 2005 Parliamentary election on charges of working without government accreditation.
In April 2008, she secured the release of New York Times reporter Barry Bearak, who had been imprisoned on similar charges.
She also defended many local journalists arrested in the run-up to the 2008 presidential election.
To practicing lawyers in Zimbabwe, she re-mains a prized family treasure and there has been consolation in her hour of trial or during times of relentless tribulation, such as this week.
"For every Beatrice Mtetwa that these State agents and institutions put behind bars and attempt to embarrass, humiliate and punish without lawful cause, there are 10 other human rights lawyers waiting to take up the mantle," said Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights deputy head, Precious Chakasikwa on Monday.
Mcdonald Lewani-kwa, the director of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, described Mt-etwa as "our gallant protector" while John Chita-kure, a political activist, said she was "the conscience of the nation, the voice of the voiceless, the advocate of the downtrodden, the dehumanised and the subjugated people of Zimbabwe."