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Despite progress in stabilizing Zimbabwe’s devastated economy by the new transitional government, the anti-democratic and abusive practices of Robert Mugabe and his followers continue to cast a cloud over the once prosperous Southern African nation.
Hardliners in Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party continue to violate human rights and refuse to fully and faithfully implement the Global Political Agreement. Authorities have conducted a sustained campaign of political arrests and prosecution of opposition party members, lawmakers, and members of civil society.
However, Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court recently dismissed trumped-up terrorism charges against a prominent and award-winning human rights activist, Jestina Mukoko, and ruled that she was terrorized when state security agents arrested her late last year.
Ms.Mukoko was taken from her home by armed men last December and held in secret locations for more than 3 weeks as authorities tried to force her to confess to a plot to topple the government. Hospitalized for beatings she suffered in captivity, she was released on bail in March, but briefly jailed again in May.
The court, in its ruling, said Ms. Mukoko had been abducted illegally and tortured and it dismissed all charges against her. Amid the continued politicized arrests and prosecutions in Zimbabwe, it was a rare act of judicial independence, and the United States applauds it.
One ruling does not signify a trend, but in this case it does raise hope that other judges may be inspired to follow suit and lead the nation back to the rule of law.