A Zimbabwe High Court yesterday allowed four opposition activists to challenge their prosecution on terrorism charges in a higher court, after arguing that a trial would be illegal because they were abducted by security agents.
Reuters reports, four Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) activists, among them Jestina Mukoko, a prominent activist, say they were abducted from their homes in November and December last year and kept in secret locations where they were tortured by security agents.
The activists were only brought to court in January, and then released on bail the following month after the formation of a new unity government between President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
The prosecution of the MDC and rights activists, who were formally charged last month, has raised tensions in Zimbabwe’s new administration, which is desperate for billions in foreign donor money to revive a shattered economy.
Yesterday`s ruling by Judge Tendai Uchena granting the MDC members the right to challenge the charges at the Supreme Court opens the way for more than a dozen other activists, whose lawyers say their prosecution was illegal.
If the Supreme Court rules in their favour, the charges will be dropped.