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Zimbabwe Frees Prominent Activist


Zimbabwean authorities have freed human rights activist Jestina Mukoko after a court ordered her release.

Mukoko's lawyers say authorities released her on $600 bail Monday but ordered her to surrender her passport.

She remains hospitalized for medical examinations.

Mukoko heads the Zimbabwe Peace Project. Police arrested her and eight other activists in December, accusing them of trying to recruit people to overthrow the government.

Her arrest sparked an international outcry after state security officials kept her at a secret detention site for weeks. Mukoko cried during a court appearance in January and said authorities beat her.

A U.S. State Department spokesman says the release of political prisoners in Zimbabwe is always positive. But he said there are more still in jail who should be freed without delay.

Lawyers say several other activists were freed on bail Monday and two were released on Friday

Zimbabwean authorities have arrested at least 30 human rights and opposition activists in recent months on charges that include banditry, sabotage, and terrorism.

The arrests have tested Zimbabwe's new power-sharing government, headed by President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Mr. Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change party have called repeatedly for the activists to be freed.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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