Zimbabwean prosecutors applied yesterday to indict senior MDC official Roy Bennett to face trial on terrorism charges, which could see him detained, his lawyer said.
“The state has applied for his indictment and the magistrate will make a ruling tomorrow,” Trust Maanda, Bennett’s defence lawyer, told reporters outside the court.
Bennett is a key ally of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, and the party’s nominee for deputy Agriculture Minister.
He was arrested on February 13, as the new cabinet was sworn in.
In terms of Zimbabwean laws, a person indicted for trial is automatically taken into custody and has to apply for fresh bail. Zimbabwe’s highest court, the Supreme Court, freed Bennett earlier after he spent a month in custody.
The arrest of Bennett and several other MDC politicians has raised tensions within a power-sharing government set up by Tsvangirai and his rival President Robert Mugabe following last year’s disputed elections.
The MDC has accused Mugabe’s ZANU-PF of coming up with politically motivated charges against its members.
“The intended serving of indictment papers on Senator Bennett is therefore a malicious ploy by the Attorney-General’s office to keep his criminal charges pending, thereby denying him the opportunity to be sworn in as the deputy Agriculture Minister,” the MDC said in a statement.