Zimbabwean activists bailed

May 6, 2009 12:00 am

, HARARE, May 6 – A Zimbabwe court on Wednesday approved bail for 18 activists, including leading human rights campaigner Jestina Mukoko, a day after they were held on charges of plotting to overthrow President Robert Mugabe.

"By consent the accused are admitted to bail on conditions that are already in place," magistrate Catherine Chimhanda said, following an agreement between prosecutors and the defence.

The activists were arrested last year on charges of scheming to overthrow Zimbabwe’s long-time leader Mugabe, but were released on bail two months ago after the formation of a unity government.

They were taken back into custody on Tuesday after they were formally indicted, drawing a sharp rebuke from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which warned the detentions threatened the survival of the unity accord.

Mukoko is accused of recruiting people for terror training in neighbouring Botswana — a claim rejected by Botswana as well as the MDC.

She and the other activists are now set to be released under their earlier bail terms, which required them to forfeit their travel documents while posting 600 US dollars and deeds to any property.


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