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Bail Conditions Relaxed for Zimbabwean Diamond Activist Farai Maguwu


Mines Minister Obert Mpofu dismissed as inconsequential a campaign launched last week by the Rapaport diamond trading network of New York, warning its members not to buy diamonds from the Marange field

A Harare magistrate on Tuesday relaxed bail conditions for Mutare-based diamond activist Farai Maguwu, accused of publishing or communicating falsehoods prejudicial to the state in connection with the Marange diamond field.

Lawyers for Maguwu, director of the Center for Research and Development in the eastern border city, said that the tight conditions imposed on Maguwu when he was granted bail were curtailing his freedom of association.

VOA Studio 7 correspondent Thomas Chiripasi reported from the Zimbabwean capital.

Elsewhere, Mines Minister Obert Mpofu dismissed as inconsequential a campaign launched last week by the Rapaport diamond trading network of New York, warning its members not to buy diamonds from the Marange field.

Immediately after the auctioning of 900,000 carat diamonds in Harare last week, the Rapaport Network, also known as RapNet, warned its members to avoid those diamonds or risk being suspended by the organization.

Rapaport said that although some Marange diamonds have been approved for sale by the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, it will not allow its members to trade in them as it is suspected that human rights violations and illegal smuggling continue in the alluvial diamond field in Marange district of Manicaland province.

Members found to have knowingly offered Marange diamonds for sale on RapNet will be expelled and their names will be publicly communicated, the organization said in a statement.

Mpofu said he was not fazed by the RapNet announcement, arguing that the only organizations that matter in the global diamond industry are the Kimberley Process and the World Diamond Council.

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