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Detained Zimbabwe opposition lawmaker charged with terrorism
Agence France-Presse (AFP)
April 14, 2007

HARARE (AFP) - A Zimbabwean opposition lawmaker and 12 activists arrested in a crackdown last month appeared in court charged with terrorism, banditry and sabotage, their lawyer said Saturday.

Lawyer Alec Mucahdehama said the prosecution claimed Member of Parliament Paul Madzore and his co-accused underwent training as "bandits, saboteurs, insurgents or terrorists." "The prosecutor Austin Muzivi alleged that between December last year and March this year, the 13 went to Pretoria and Orange Free State in South Africa to undergo military training on how to terrorise the government," Muchadehama told AFP.

The prosecutor "added that they were taught to make and use firebombs", said Muchadehama.

The group was among scores of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC, opposition) officials and supporters who were arrested in what police said was a crackdown on fire bombers accused of a series of attacks across the southern African country.

Harare magistrate Gloria Takundwa remanded the suspects in custody until Monday, when their lawyer is expected to protest against the assault of the MDC activists during their arrest and while in detention.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has denied accusations that MDC members were behind the spate of bombings, saying they were were framed.

"The false allegations against the MDC are not new," Tsvangirai said in a statement on Thursday.

"You will recall that a few months after the presidential elections of 2002, malevolent charges of treason were bought against me. These things are not new to us. For months in 2002 we were labelled terrorists and saboteurs".

Long-standing political tensions deteriorated last month when state security agents assaulted Tsvangirai and scores of supporters and shot dead an opposition activist as they broke up an anti-government rally.

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