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Zimbabwean Court Frees US Health Workers on Bail Pending Hearing

It remained unclear what licensing arrangement, if any, existed between the Oakland, California, based group and Zimbabwean authorities.

Four American health workers and three others arrested in Zimbabwe last week and charged with operating without a proper license were granted bail Monday by a Harare magistrate.

Magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi ordered the four Americans to post bail of 200 U-S dollars, to surrender their passports and not to interfere with witnesses and police investigations.

Dr. Anthony Eugene Jones, nurses David Greenberg and Gregory Miller, and community health worker Gloria Cox Crowell were working under the auspices of the Allen Temple AIDS Ministry of Oakland, California. Arrested with them were Zimbabwean Dr. Thembinkosi Ncomanzi, medical lecturer Dr. Andrew Reid and Dr. John Cheyne, both the latter of New Zealand.

The magistrate set a court date of September 27, but lawyers were seeking an earlier date, VOA Studio 7 correspondent Irwin Chifera reported from Harare.

Lawyer Jonathan Samkange told VOA reporter Tatenda Gumbo about the work the group had been doing at an orphanage in Mutoko, Mashonaland East province.

Despite the arraignment on Monday it was unclear what licensing arrangements, if any, had existed between the U.S. missionary group and Zimbabwean health authorities.

The Allen Temple AIDS Ministry told the Associated Press that the church has been working in Zimbabwe for more than a decade and that the licensing issue had never come up before.

Dr. Morgan Sebele, a Zimbabwean physician based in South Africa, said that for doctors to practice medicine in Zimbabwe they must register with the Medical, Dental and Allied Professions council.

Dr. Sebele told VOA it could be a criminal offense to practice medicine without such certification.