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Zimbabwe Court Defers Request To Free Detained Opposition Members

In the latest installment of a long-running legal saga involving 31 opposition officials, supporters and staff held for many weeks on charges they organized a firebombings in March, a Zimbabwe high court judge ruled Wednesday that a magistrate's court must dispose of the case before the upper court can consider bail applications.

Correspondent Thomas Chiripasi reported from Harare.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum Chairman Noel Kututwa said the continued detention of the activists violated their rights. He said the case has been moved from one court to another without trial dates being set.

Kututwa told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that the activists have been treated as if they were already convicted, though at this point they are only suspects.

Elsewhere, legal experts said in a public forum Tuesday that Zimbabwean courts, judges and lawyers face increased pressure from the government and police with ministers intervening in proceedings and police routinely defying court orders.

Correspondent Fazila Mahomed reported from Harare.

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