Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

At least 3 dead in grenade attack in Bujumbura

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Inequality, sexism and the movie industry

Read more

ENCORE!

Sienna Miller on motherhood, her new movies and Cannes glamour

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

After the Fall of Ramadi, Palmyra: Did the West Underestimate the Jihadists?

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Migrants and Immigrants: A Global Crisis

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Behind the scenes of French gastronomy

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Protests continue in Burundi as calls mount for election delay

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Burundi: Nkurunziza delays parliamentary polls as clashes continue

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

At least two killed in fresh protests in Bujumbura

Read more

Africa

Activists jailed again pending trial for alleged Mugabe coup

Latest update : 2009-05-05

Eighteen political activists, including human rights advocate Jestina Mukoko (pictured), have been detained again just two months after they were freed on bail pending trial on charges of trying to overthrow Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe.

Reuters - A Zimbabwe court on Tuesday ordered 18 opposition activists facing charges of terrorism back to prison after they were indicted for trial next month in a move that will spark fresh tensions in a new unity government.

 

The activists, including leading human rights activist Jestina Mukoko, say they were abducted by state security agents from their homes last year and tortured to force them to confess to planning to remove President Robert Mugabe from power.

 

The activists, who also include several Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) members, were granted bail in March with the consent of state prosecutors.

 

"We were surprised by the magistrate's decision as we were making prior arrangements with the state. She just said the matter was now outside her jurisdiction and remanded them in custody," Alec Muchadehama, one of the defence lawyers, said.

 

Muchadehama said the 18 had been indicted for a trial which starts next month. Lawyers were preparing to apply for bail at Zimbabwe's High Court later on Tuesday.

 

Long-time rivals Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC formed a unity government in February after months of wrangling but sharp differences still remain over issues such as the review of the posts of central bank governor and attorney general.

 

Mugabe has yet to swear in Roy Bennett, a senior white MDC member, as deputy Agriculture Minister. Bennett was locked up in prison for a month in February on charges of plotting terrorism.

 

Western donors, who have demanded that the unity government carry out wider political and media reforms and called for the release of all political prisoners before committing funding, are likely to raise concern.

 

"As the MDC we are very concerned with this matter as it adds to a long litany of breaches to the Global Political Agreement (signed by Mugabe and Tsvangirai on September 15)," an MDC official told Reuters.

 

Date created : 2009-05-05

COMMENT(S)