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Zimbabwe Radio Organization Hails Dismissal of Criminal Charges

A Zimbabwe magistrate's decision this week to dismiss charges brought against the trustees and employees of an independent radio broadcasting company has met with satisfaction on the part of senior management of the Voice of the People.

The magistrate dismissed the charges Monday after government prosecutors sought a third postponement in the case, opened in December when the state raided VOP.

The organization produced radio shows that were broadcast to Zimbabwe and the region over a Radio Netherlands transmitter located in Madagascar.

The Voice of the People offices were destroyed by a bomb in 2001 and Zimbabwean police confiscated its equipment in the December raid

Trustee Isabella Matambanadzo told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that despite the favorable decision, VOP needs to get its equipment back from the government in order to resume its activity.

Media rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, who represented the VOP trustees and staff in the case, said the magistrate ruled correctly, but added that authorities never should have made the arrests and brought the charges to begin with.

Acting Information Minister Paul Mangwana could not be reached for comment.

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