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Zimbabwe Court Clears Accused In Alleged Presidential Assassination Plot

A high court judge in Mutare, Zimbabwe, on Tuesday acquitted alleged coup plotter Peter Michael Hitschmann of charges that he conspired to assassinate President Robert Mugabe in 2006, but convicted him of various weapons charges.

Hitschmann and five alleged accomplices were arrested in March 2006 and accused of planning to assassinate Mr. Mugabe during a visit to Mutare that February.

Members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai were among those arrested, including MDC defense spokesman Giles Mutsekwa, leading MDC officials to accuse Harare of conjuring up the charges.

Ultimately only Hitschmann was brought to trial as the police case fell apart amid reports of a falling out between state security agents and prosecutors.

Reporter Lordham Moyo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe was present Tuesday in a packed Mutare high court as Justice Alfas Chitakunye announced the verdict.

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