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Top Zimbabwean opposition member freed

Latest update : 2008-06-03

Arthur Mutambara, a leading opposition member, was freed on a 20 billion Zimbabwean dollars bail but is not allowed to move from his home. Mutambara was arrested for writing an article criticising President Mugabe.

HARARE, June 3 - The leader of a faction of Zimbabwe's
main opposition party was granted bail and released
from custody on Tuesday after his arrest for publishing an
article critical of President Robert Mugabe.
 

A court in the capital Harare ordered Arthur Mutambara freed
on bail of 20 billion Zimbabwean dollars ($28) after he appeared
to face charges of contempt of court and communicating
falsehoods prejudicial to the state.
 

Mutambara, who heads the smaller of two wings of the
Movement for Democratic Change, was ordered to appear in court
on June 17. He also cannot leave the southern African nation
until the case is resolved.
 

"What has happened is nothing compared to what the people of
Zimbabwe are experiencing. Mugabe is violating the human rights
of our people," a defiant Mutambara said after his release,
accusing the government of a crackdown on opposition supporters.
 

Mutambara made a similar accusation in an article published
on April 20 in the Standard, a privately owned weekly newspaper.
He criticised Mugabe's handling of the March 29 elections and
questioned his government's right to stay in office.
 

He was arrested on Sunday.
 

Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF lost control of parliament in the
election for the first time since he led it to power in 1980.
Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC faction won the most seats, with
Mutambara's MDC winning a smaller number.
 

The two MDC factions split in 2005 but recently agreed to
combine forces and work together to unseat Mugabe's government.
 

Results from a parallel presidential election in March
showed Tsvangirai beating Mugabe but without a big enough margin
to avoid a run-off, which will be held on June 27.
 

Both MDC factions, however, have raised concerns about the
fairness of the upcoming presidential poll and have called on
the government to end what they describe as an orchestrated
intimidation campaign.
 

Scores of MDC supporters have been beaten and killed since
the elections in March, according to the party. Mugabe and his
ZANU-PF say the opposition is responsible for a wave of violence
targeting its activists.

Date created : 2008-06-03

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