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Zimbabwe drops charges against acitivist

HARARE, Sept 28 – The Zimbabwe Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the prosecution of leading rights activist Jestina Mukoko over an alleged plot to overthrow President Mugabe, saying the state had violated her rights.

"The state through its agents, violated the applicant’s constitutional right, entitling the applicant permanent stay of criminal prosecution," said judge Godfrey Chidyausiku.

Mukoko was seized from her home in December 2008 and detained at an unknown place, before being held at the notorious Chikurubi prison outside Harare.

She was accused of recruiting people for terror training in neighbouring Botswana, a claim rejected by Botswana and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

While in prison her lawyers claimed that she was severely tortured by state agents in a bid to force her to confess to charges of banditry and treason.

Her arrest and that of dozens of other activists linked to the MDC threatened talks on the formation of Zimbabwe’s unity government.

A sobbing Mukoko, who has been out on bail since March, said she felt relieved about the verdict.

"I am obviously relieved, the charges did not make sense, I did not believe people would charge me for something like that," Mukoko said, adding that she had been ashamed "to be referred to as a common criminal."

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