Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

WEB NEWS

France's top consumer group sues Internet giants

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users pay tribute to South Korea ferry victims

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

A landslide victory for the 'invisible candidate' in Algeria's Presidential polls

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014 (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Presidential adviser resigns over "shoe-shine scandal"

Read more

#THE 51%

Breaking stereotypes

Read more

#TECH 24

Galaxy S5 v. HTC One (M8): Which is the right one for you?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

New PM Manuel Valls outlines priorities

Read more

  • Why Syria’s cash-strapped jihadists let hostages go

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine separatist crisis overshadows Easter celebrations

    Read more

  • The Great War's unsung four-legged heroes

    Read more

  • Divers begin pulling bodies from sunken South Korean ferry

    Read more

  • Ukraine rebels call for Russian troops after deadly clash

    Read more

  • UK’s Hamilton cruises to victory at Chinese Grand Prix

    Read more

  • Freed French journalists arrive home after Syria ordeal

    Read more

  • Syria’s Assad visits recaptured Christian town at Easter

    Read more

  • In pictures: French kite festival takes flight

    Read more

  • Le Pen’s National Front fail to woo Britain’s Eurosceptics

    Read more

  • PSG clinch fourth League Cup title after beating Lyon

    Read more

  • Militants kill Algerian soldiers in deadly ambush

    Read more

  • Scores killed in South Sudan cattle raid

    Read more

  • VIDEO: Anti-Semitic leaflets in Eastern Ukraine condemned

    Read more

  • Bouteflika, the ghost president

    Read more

  • Does Valls’ upcoming Vatican trip violate French secularism?

    Read more

  • Ukraine separatists say ‘not bound’ by Geneva deal

    Read more

  • Abel Ferrara’s hotly awaited DSK film to premiere on web

    Read more

  • Obama signs bill to block controversial Iran diplomat from UN post

    Read more

  • Astronomers discover Earth-like planet that could support life

    Read more

  • In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

    Read more

Africa

Roy Bennett's terrorism trial adjourned until Wednesday

©

Video by Nicolas Germain

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-11-09

The trial of Roy Bennett, an ally of PM Morgan Tsvangirai, opened in Harare before being adjourned until Wednesday. Bennett, who faces terrorism charges, has been in and out of jail since returning to Zimbabwe to join a national unity government.

AFP - Roy Bennett, a top aide to Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, on Monday went on trial for terror charges before a packed courtroom in a case that has rocked Harare's fragile unity government.
   
His lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa immediately sought to toss out testimony from state witnesses in the case accusing Bennett of plotting to overthrow President Robert Mugabe three years ago.
   
Bennett's latest arrest last month prompted Tsvangirai to stage a three-week boycott of the unity government, underscoring tensions in the power-sharing arrangement.
   
The same charges against other MDC officials have already been thrown out of court, and one witness has testified that he only implicated Bennett in the alleged plot because he was tortured into doing so.
   
"I have been persecuted since I joined politics and I have been living in persecution since then. You never know when you are going to get justice," Bennett told reporters after the court proceedings.
   
Judge Chinembiri Bhunu adjourned the case until Wednesday, when he is expected to rule on whether the testimony can be submitted.
   
"This is a serious matter where someone else's life is an issue," Bennett's lawyer Mtetwa said. "The charges the accused is facing carry serious penalty -- that is death and life imprisonment."
   
Attorney general Johannes Tomana, who is prosecuting the case, said a speedy trial would be in the national interest.
   
"This is a very serious matter which must be accorded the amount of seriousness it demands, particularly in the environment the country is in," Tomana said.
   
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has claimed a crackdown against its members, with the party's ally the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions saying five of its unionists were behind bars on Monday.
   
The five, including president Lovemore Matombo, were arrested Sunday and were likely to face charges of holding a meeting without notifying police, the congress said.
   
Bennett, a former coffee farmer, fled to South Africa in 2006, saying he feared for his life. Similar charges against another MDC official, co-minister for home affairs Giles Mutseyekwa, were thrown of court in 2006.
   
Mugabe has so far refused to swear in Bennett as his deputy agriculture minister saying he must first be cleared by the courts.
   
Tsvangirai only ended the government boycott after an emergency regional summit on Thursday set a new 30-day deadline for the rivals to sort out their differences -- including a dispute over Mugabe's appointment of Tomana, whom the MDC says is targetting its members.
   
Tsvangirai and his long-time rival agreed to the unity government nearly a year after disputed polls, which saw Mugabe handed the presidency in a one-man run-off, plunged the country into deeper economic and political crisis.
   
The unity pact helped arrest Zimbabwe's economic free-fall and created an opening to repair its international ties amid Western calls for greater signs of reform from Mugabe, the country's ruler since 1980.
   
Bennett's case has become a symbol of the challenges facing Zimbabwe's government.
   
Bennett, who speaks fluently the majority language Shona, saw his farm in eastern Zimbabwe seized in 2003 under Mugabe's controversial land reforms which targeted white-owned farms for resettlement by black farmers.
   
The following year he was jailed for eight months for assault after he punched Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa in parliament during a heated debate on the land reforms.
 

 

Date created : 2009-11-09

  • ZIMBABWE

    MDC official Bennett released on bail, trial to begin next week

    Read more

  • ZIMBABWE

    Tsvangirai ends boycott of unity government, but faces a deadline for a deal

    Read more

  • ZIMBABWE

    Expelled UN expert says unity government is not working

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)