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21 Zimbabwe Farmers Remain in Jail - 2001-08-10


In Zimbabwe, 21 jailed white farmers who are accused of attacking land invaders have again been denied bail. The farmers will have to stay in jail for three more days before they have another bail hearing.

The 21 farmers have yet to be charged and have already spent five nights in police cells in the town of Chinhoyi, 100 kilometers northwest of Harare. They are due to appear in court again on Tuesday. There are no court hearings over the weekend, and Monday is a public holiday in Zimbabwe. The court agreed with the prosecution that the farmers might flee Zimbabwe if they are given bail and might also try to intimidate witnesses.

Family members say the farmers are in fairly good physical condition, although there is some concern over the welfare of the older men, two of whom are in their late sixties. A lawyer representing the farmers says police have allowed extra food and clothing to be brought in to the men. In their court appearance on Thursday, all the farmers were barefoot.

Meanwhile, violence and unrest have continued on farms in the Chinhoyi area. More than 30 owners and their families have fled, and the Commercial Farmers Union says that looters have destroyed or stolen equipment and possessions worth more than $1 million.

In some cases, the looters have used the farmers' tractors to haul off furniture and other valuables. Farm union officials say at least three cows have been shot and eaten by the looters.

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