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Freed On  Bail, Zimbabwean Opposition Stalwart Mutambara Vows Defiance

  • Thomas Chiripasi
  • Ntungamili Nkomo

The prominent Zimbabwean opposition figure Arthur Mutambara, arrested on Sunday in connection with an article he published in April criticizing President Robert Mugabe, was arraigned before a magistrate on Tuesday and freed on bail.

From Harare, Studio 7 correspondent Thomas Chiripasi reported.

Following his release, Mutambara told reporter Ntungamili Nkomo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that that rather than being intimidated by his two days of incarceration he felt energized and more ready than ever to challenge the government.

Meanwhile, sources said Zimbabwe’s jails are filling up with political prisoners who are being held in deplorable conditions.

One now in custody is opposition member of parliament for Buhera West constituency of Manicaland province, Eric Matinenga, arrested on Saturday on charges he incited political violence.

His lawyer, Tinoziva Bere, said the police refused to let Matinenga be arraigned on Tuesday as was expected. He said Matinenga denies the allegations.

Bere said conditions in Manicaland prisons are alarming. Remand cells designed to hold 300 people are holding more than a thousand, Bere said. Most are opposition activists or individuals accused of dealing illegally in diamonds, he said.

Bere told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that political prisoners continue to be brought to the cells by members of the ruling party militia and war veterans, rendering conditions at the remand prison increasingly harsh.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...