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After Months In Lockup, Zimbabwe Opposition Activists Are Granted Bail


Two of 17 opposition officials and activists held by police in Harare for several months were released on bail late Tuesday, their lawyer said, while 13 others were expected to be freed Wednesday based on a high court decision to grant 15 activists bail.

The detained members of the Movement for Democratic Change faction headed by MDC founder Morgan Tsvangirai were accused of involvement in March fire bombings and of conspiring or training to carry out other violence, which they have denied.

The opposition says the charges were fabricated by the state security apparatus in an effort to paralyze the opposition faction in the approach to March 2008 elections. The arrests took place in late March when police raided the Harare headquarters of the Tsvangirai faction, seizing computers and records and destroying property.

Lawyer Alec Muchadehama said Phillip Katsande and Sam Wakatama were released Tuesday evening while another 13, though granted bail by the high court, continued to be held by authorities due to a mix-up in court docket reference numbers.

Those granted bail include Paul Madzore, a member of parliament for the Glen View section of Harare, Solomon Madzore, and Philip Mabika.

Two other members of the MDC faction, deputy organizing secretary Morgan Komichi and Dennis Murirwa, were not granted bail as their applications have yet to be heard.

Muchadehama told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that his clients were pleased to be granted bail but will seek to have the charges dismissed.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...

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