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Charges Upheld Against Zimbabwe Ministerial Appointee Bennett, Remanded To March 4

A magistrate in Mutare, Zimbabwe, on Wednesday upheld charges against deputy agriculture minister-designated Roy Bennett of the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of possessing firearms for "terrorism, banditry and insurgency."

The magistrate remanded Bennett, treasurer of the Tsvangirai MDC wing, to police custody until March 4. Bennett was arrested on Friday at an airport outside Harare as he prepared to leave the country, having been warned that he was in danger of being seized. He had been in exile in South Africa since 2006, when state prosecutors named him and other opposition members in an alleged conspiracy to assassinate President Robert Mugabe.

His arrest on the very day that Mr. Tsvangirai's cabinet was to be sworn in has presented the MDC leader with a major political dilemma in that he has indicated he intends to remain in the unity government with the ZANU-PF party of President Mugabe though observers concluded Bennett's arrest was a sign of bad faith on the party of his ZANU-PF partners.

Bennett's lawyer, Trust Maanda, told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that he will appeal the decision in the country's High Court.

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