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Harare set to try dozens of Mugabe opponents

Video by Enos JONGWE , Hayde FITZPATRICK , Caroline DUMAY

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-06-08

Dozens of human rights activists and members of the opposition MDC party are being tried on charges of training fighters outside the country to oust Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe. France 24 met the some of the accused.

AFP - Three Zimbabwe activists were held overnight this week in a bid to allegedly force them to testify against fellow Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) members, the party said on Thursday.

  

Terry Musona, Lloyd Tarumbwa and Fani Tembo, who were taken by state security agents in October last year, were on Tuesday again forcefully taken from their homes, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's party said in a statement.

  

"The trio was abducted and taken to the attorney general's office in Harare and told that they should testify against other MDC activists who are to face trial next week on trumped-charges of banditry or they would face unspecified consequences," the party said.

  

The three were released on Wednesday but ordered to come to court next week.

  

MDC lawyers were preparing an urgent High Court application to stop the state from using the three activists as witnesses, the party said.

  

Musona, Tembo and Tarumbwa were arrested in October last year and spent four months in detention, much of that time in secret camps.

  

They were never charged or brought to court and were released in February following a High Court order.

  

Last month 18 activists, including top human rights campaigner Jestina Mukoko, were released on bail after being re-arrested on charges of terrorism over an alleged plot to topple Mugabe.

  

The activists were abducted by state security agents in separate incidents in November and December last year and held in secret camps where they say they were beaten while in custody.

  

Western donors have demanded the release of all political prisoners before considering aid for the cash-strapped unity government, which is seeking 8.5 billion dollars (six billion euros) to revive the devastated economy.

  

 

Date created : 2009-06-08

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