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Walkout By Lawyers for Detained Zimbabwe Activists; Case Deferred to January 14

Lawyers defending Zimbabwe Peace Project Director Jestina Mukoko and eight Movement for Democratic Change activists walked out of court Tuesday after state prosecutors said they wanted to bring forward a case involving other MDC activists slated for Wednesday.

Mukoko and the MDC activists are accused of plotting to overthrow the government.

The defense team objected strenuously to the proposal to bring the other case forward on grounds that it was "functus officio," a Latin legal term meaning that the matter has been overtaken by the course of legal events or superseded by a prior court action.

Defense lawyers filed a motion asking the magistrate to postpone further action in the case until the supreme court has ruled on whether the accused should stand trial and whether their original abductions leading eventually to their being charged were lawful.

A magistrate Monday deferred the cases of Mukoko and the eight MDC activists to Tuesday and put off the case of Ghandi Mudzingwa, former personal assistant to Morgan Tsvangirai, among other activists, to Wednesday, in response to a request from their lawyers that they should receive medical attention before further proceedings in the case.

Correspondent Thomas Chiripasi told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Mukoko and the MDC activists whose cases are linked to hers will remain in remand prison until January 14, when they are scheduled to appear again in court.

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