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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

BBC NEWS | Africa | Zimbabwe treason charges dropped

BBC NEWS | Africa | Zimbabwe treason charges dropped Zimbabwe treason charges dropped
Zimbabwe has withdrawn treason charges against opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

The charges arose from mass protests against President Robert Mugabe's government in 2003.

Last year, Mr Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, was acquitted in a separate treason case.

"The state is withdrawing charges before plea," prosecutor Florence Ziyambi said in Harare magistrate's court, without giving a reason.

Mr Tsvangirai's lawyer, Eric Matinenga, told journalists charges had been dropped "because he never committed a crime, and obviously someone has seen sense".

The first treason charge faced by Mr Tsvangirai concerned allegations that he had plotted to overthrow Mr Mugabe.

Acquittal

He was acquitted of that charge in October 2004, and in February this year the government withdrew its appeal against his acquittal.

Mr Tsvangirai, a former trade unionist, rose to political prominence in the 1990s.

He founded the MDC amid growing discontentment with the Mugabe government, and a deepening economic crisis.

The MDC has claimed that successive elections in Zimbabwe - most recently the parliamentary poll in March this year - have been rigged in the government's favour.

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