Zimbabwe police ordered to release or charge opposition supporters

Other News Materials 28 April 2008 17:16 (UTC +04:00)

The High Court in Zimbabwe's capital Harare has ordered the police to release about 250 opposition supporters or bring them to court Monday, dpa reported.

The ruling by Justice Mary-Anne Gora follows an urgent appeal by opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) lawyers for the release of the activists rounded up in a raid on the party's offices in Harare, saying they needed medical treatment.

MDC lawyer Alec Muchadehama told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa: "The High Court has granted an order to have the arrested given access to medical treatment, food and to lawyers and be brought to court by 1600 hours, failure of which they should be released."

Muchadehama said his clients had been detained for too long while police are trying to find suitable charges against them. Police raided the headquarters of the opposition MDC on Friday in an operation they said was aimed at finding suspects accused of arson attacks in Mashonaland East province, a stronghold of the ruling ZANU PF party.

The opposition claims that there were people who had sought shelter at the offices from retributive attack at the hands of war veterans and ruling party militants in the province.

According to Muchadehama, about 30, among them elderly villagers and breastfeeding mothers and children, have been released since they were arrested on Friday.