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Zimbabwe Court Orders Release of Country’s Chief Prosecutor


Zimbabwe's Prosecutor General Johannes Tomana (R) arrives escorted by policemen at the Harare Magistrates court, Feb. 2, 2016.

Zimbabwe's Prosecutor General Johannes Tomana (R) arrives escorted by policemen at the Harare Magistrates court, Feb. 2, 2016.

A court in Zimbabwe has ordered the release of the country's prosecutor general, who was arrested Monday after authorizing the release of two people accused of plotting to bomb a dairy farm that belongs to President Robert Mugabe.

Late Tuesday, Magistrate Vakai Chikwekwe ordered the release of Prosecutor General Johannes Tomana on $1000 bail.

Tomana is still facing charges of defeating course of justice and abuse of public office after he okayed the release of two of the four people accused of planning to bomb the president's dairy farm.

Tomana's lawyer, Thabani Mpofu, spoke to reporters after his client was released, and pointed out that in Zimbabwe, the independence of the judiciary is guaranteed by the constitution.

"I feel that today, the constitution will sleep well. Prosecutor general is independent in the discharge of his duties. Certainly that discharge cannot be reviewed by the police. Where do they stop if they are unhappy? If you allow the police to arrest; why would they not arrest a judge, for instance, after he has rendered a determination and say we do not like this determination? To hell with your independence," he said.

Tomana was arrested in Harare Monday with his subordinate, prosecutor Michael Mugabe, the son of the president's brother. It was the younger Mugabe who is handling the bomb case and had asked for the two suspects to be released.

Mugabe was released Monday without any charges, and Tomana's lawyer said the president's nephew might turn state witness.

All four suspects from the alleged bombing plot are now back in custody. Tuesday, they were brought to court and were slapped with charges of treason.

The four suspects are scheduled to appear again in court next week, while Tomana will appear in court on February 16.

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