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Zimbabwean Prosecutors Withdraw Charges Against Opposition Activists

Zimbabwean state prosecutors on Monday withdrew all charges against 30 of the 31 opposition activists who were arrested in March and held for months on an assortment of charges including their alleged involvement in a spate of firebomb attacks.

Harare Magistrate Kudakwashe Jarabini discharged the officials and members of the Movement for Democratic Change faction of Morgan Tsvangirai, after the prosecutor indicated the state was withdrawing charges including banditry and sabotage. The prosecution indicated, however, that it might issue summonses in the case later.

The activists include Glenview member of parliament Paul Madzore and Tsvangirai advisor Ian Makone. Still facing charges is activist Ishmael Kauzani, against whom, the prosecutor said, the evidence was strong enough to proceed with his case.

Many of those whose cases were dismissed Monday were arrested on March 28 of this year when police raided the Harare headquarters of the MDC faction. Some spent four months in remand prison where they were denied medical attention.

Lawyer Alec Muchadehama, counsel for the accused, told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabw that the state’s decision to withdraw the cases indicated that the charges against them were empty to begin with.

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