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Hope For Justice In Zimbabwe


The United States has long been concerned about the state of rule of law in Zimbabwe, where politicized arrests and court prosecutions have been common.

It appears that no good deed goes unpunished in Zimbabwe.

Following a High Court judge's decision to reject weapons and terrorism charges against opposition political activist and senior member of Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change Roy Bennett, prosecutors say they will appeal the ruling.

An independent judiciary is a keystone of democracy, and signs of independence have been seen in Zimbabwe's courts of late, as the transitional government works to put the country back on the democratic path after years of one-party rule. It's clear that hard-liners aren't giving up, however, and the harassment of Mr. Bennett, and by extension his colleagues in government, will continue.

Named to serve as deputy agriculture minister, Mr. Bennett was arrested in February last year on the very day that the transitional government was sworn in, under the Global Political Agreement aimed at ending the country's long-running political crisis. State security agents said he was involved in a 2006 plot to overthrow the government by blowing up a major communications link and assassinating key officials. The High Court dismissed the charges, ruling that the case was weak and testimony against him tainted.

Against this backdrop further court action appears unwarranted. Prosecutors haven't indicated that they have any new evidence to back their charges. Pursuing an appeal appears aimed only at intimidating Mr. Bennett. Enough is enough.

The United States has long been concerned about the state of rule of law in Zimbabwe, where politicized arrests and court prosecutions have been common. Robert Mugabe should end this now and allow Mr. Bennett finally to be sworn in to his agriculture post and fully implement the Global Political Agreement.

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