The High Court in Zimbabwe has acquitted the leader of the country's biggest opposition party of a plot to kill President Robert Mugabe and stage a coup.

The leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, Morgan Tsvangirai was found not guilty of the charge by Judge Paddington Garwe. In his verdict the judge said there was no credible evidence to convict Mr. Tsvangirai.

The charge arose from a series of meetings Mr. Tsvangirai held with Ari Ben Menashe of the Canadian political consultancy, Dickens and Madson. Mr. Tsvangirai was unaware that the company was already on the payroll of the government of Zimbabwe. One of the meetings, held in Montreal in 2001 was secretly recorded on a grainy video with poor audio. Mr. Ben Menashe was the states star witness. He

was described as a liar by Mr. Tsvangirai's defense and the opposition leader's supporters pointed to what they termed Mr. Ben Menashe's record of shady deals.

Treason is a capital offense in Zimbabwe. Mr. Tsvangirai still faces another treason charge for calling a successful five day strike last June. The state is said to be considering whether to appeal the courts decision.