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Imprisoned Abductees Appear in Zimbabwe Court


Nine Zimbabwean political detainees were taken from jail to the Harare Magistrate's Court Monday, accused of terrorism and plotting to overthrow the government of President Robert Mugabe. The Harare magistrate's court is expected to transfer the case to the High Court for trial.

A prominent human rights activist, Jestina Mukoko and eight others have denied the allegations that they were involved in a plot to overthrow President Robert Mugabe.

Eight of the detainees were wearing green prison uniforms and leg irons as they were brought into the court. Two of the suspects carried their two year old child with them.

Opposition activists and others have dismissed the allegations that they tried to recruit people for military training in Botswana as a fabrication.

Mukoko had been missing for three weeks before appearing in court last week. Some of the others had been taken from their homes and held incommunicado since October.

Harare High Court judge Yunus Omerjee ruled earlier that the activists be sent to hospital so torture allegations could be investigated.

Police have refused to comply and said the group will remain in custody while the government appeals the decision.

A further 20 or so other activists, including a photojournalist are also still in custody, despite a court ruling that their detention is not legal.

A lawyers group has said it will continue working to get the activists freed.

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