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Volunteers Arrested in Zimbabwe Released on Bail


Six church volunteers arrested in Zimbabwe have been released on bail by a Harare court.

The volunteers' lawyer Jonathan Samukanga says his clients were charged with practicing without required medical licenses.

"They were practicing without Zimbabwean doctor certificates and that they were dispensing drugs without a pharmacist present or a [dispensing] certificate," Lawyer Samukange said.

The group, four Americans, one New Zealander and one Zimbabwean, work for the Allen Temple Baptist Church in the United States, which runs two clinics for people with AIDS and AIDS orphans.

The church first began working in Zimbabwe to years ago, and works with non-governmental organizations in the country. Volunteers from the church headquarters in Oakland, California visit Zimbabwe every three months to assess their programs.

Church officials say they have worked closely with Zimbabwe authorities and the issue of licenses has never been raised before.

In a statement, the U.S. Embassy said officials are monitoring the case and attended the bail hearing.

Lawyer Samukange told VOA that even though the case is supposed to resume at the end of the month, he hopes it can be brought forward to later this week.

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