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Harare Magistrate Drops Charges Against Zimbabwe Diamond Activist Farai Maguwu


Maguwu spent 31 days in jail in Mutare and Harare before he was freed on bail amid international protests and much controversy within the Kimberley Process which was considering certification of Marange diamonds

A Harare magistrate on Thursday dismissed charges pending against Zimbabwean human rights activist Farai Maguwu that he published falsehoods prejudicial to the state in connection with the Marange diamond field.

Correspondent Thomas Chiripasi reported that Magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti threw out the charges against Maguwu, director of the Center for Research and Development in Mutare, Manicaland province, after the prosecution, led by Tapiwa Kasema, told the court the state was no longer interested in pursuing the matter.

Maguwu was arrested in June on the publication of falsehoods charges after the Zimbabwe monitor for the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme surrendered documents to authorities he said Maguwu had given him.

Maguwu spent 31 days in jail in Mutare and Harare before he was freed on bail amid international protests and much controversy within the Kimberley Process which was considering certification of Marange diamonds.

Elsewhere in the Marange diamond saga, a South African civil society group, the Southern African Resource Watch, and three Marange residents, have legally petitioned a South African company whose subsidiary is operating in the diamond field to disclose information on its activities in the controversial diamond-bearing zone.

New Reclamation Group through its subsidiary Grandwell Holdings established a a joint venture with the government of Zimbabwe to mine diamonds in Marange through an entity called Mbada Diamonds about which little is known.

Southern African Resource Watch and the other petitioners want New Reclamation to adequately compensate families currently being relocated from the Marange diamond field, and is also demanding assurances that all activities in the zone are being carried out for the benefit of all Zimbabweans.

Nicole Fritz, director of the Southern African Litigation Center, representing the petitioners, told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere that New Reclamation group is required under South Africa’s Promotion of Access to Information Act to disclose such information or face possible court action.

Zimbabwean environmental lawyer Shamiso Mtisi said chances are good that New Reclamation will be obliged to disclose the requested information given South Africa's provisions for corporate accountability.

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