Lawyers for six activists of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change and a freelance journalist accused of bombing police stations and railway lines urged a magistrate in Harare to free them from remand prison following their innocent pleas on Wednesday.
Defense lawyer Alec Muchadehama told the court his clients were tortured after being abducted by suspected agents of the state security apparatus. He called three of them to the witness stand to give testimony about their weeks-long ordeals.
The case is being closely followed on the one hand because the larger group of accused includes human rights monitor Jestina Mukoko, director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, who was abducted from her home outside Harare on Dec. 3 and later produced by police.
On the other, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has demanded the release of the prisoners and an end to such abductions as a condition for continuing negotiations on sharing power in a unity government with the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe.
Correspondent Thomas Chiripasi of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe told Jonga Kandemiiri that the case continues on Friday when a ruling on the remand motion is expected.