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White Farmers Face Further Court Hearings - 2001-08-08


More than 20 commercial farmers in Zimbabwe, accused of attacking land invaders, are being held in jail for a third night.

The 22 white farmers were due in court in the farming town of Chinhoyi to answer charges of incitement to violence.

But the court was not able to process their applications for bail before the end of the working day and so they will be held for a third night in jail.

The white farmers were arrested after a clash with black land invaders on Monday near Chinhoyi, 100 kilometers northwest of Harare. The 22 are due to be brought back to court on Thursday.

A mob of pro-government militants surrounded the courthouse in Chinhoyi and only Zimbabwe state media were allowed in. Foreign journalists were threatened and chased away, while the families of the farmers were advised by security consultants to stay away from the town.

One of the farmers collapsed in court with a suspected heart attack and was taken to a hospital. Relatives said they were worried that he had not been able to get access to medication for high blood pressure.

Friends of the farmers criticized Zimbabwe police for taking so long to get the farmers to court. The farmers appeared in court barefoot.

The town center of Chinhoyi was calm on Wednesday following attacks on whites the previous day by groups of pro-government militants. At least eight people were beaten up and needed hospital treatment.

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