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Zimbabwe Drops Treason Charges Against Alleged Egypt-Style Coup Plotters


The state alleges that Munyaradzi Gwisai and five others agreed to mobilize Zimbabweans to revolt against the government and demand the resignation of President Robert Mugabe in a replay of the Arab revolts

Zimbabwean state prosecutors have dropped treason charges against Munyaradzi Gwisai, leader of the country's International Socialist Organization, and five members of his group who were arrested in February as they watched video clips of the mass uprisings that toppled governments across the Arab world.

The six, including Antoinette Choto, Tatenda Mombeyarara, Edson Chakuma, Hopewell Gumbo and Welcome Zimuto, now face trial on charges of conspiracy to commit public violence, participating in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, or unlawfully acting together to endanger, promote or expose to hatred, contempt or ridicule the president and government.

The new charges say Gwisai and his colleagues convened an illegal gathering in Harare in February, distributing materials and showing videos about Egypt and Tunisia.

The state alleges they agreed to mobilize Zimbabweans to revolt against the government and demand the resignation of President Robert Mugabe.

Their trial is scheduled to begin August 22.

The state also withdrew corruption charges against Energy Minister Elton Mangoma who was cleared by a High Court judge of similar charges last month.

The charges withdrawn this month alleged he violated tender regulations by canceling a tender procedure for the supply of electricity meters and awarding the contract.

The charges were withdrawn "because the charges against him were almost similar to those he was acquitted on recently," said state prosecutor Chris Mutangadura.

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