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Zimbabwe's Supreme Court orders politician's release

  • Story Highlights
  • Roy Bennett, 52, opposition's choice to be deputy agriculture minister
  • Arrested on charges of possessing weapons for sabotage, banditry, terrorism
  • Last month a judge said granting bail was "in the interest of justice"
  • Bennett is a white farmer and an ardent critic of President Robert Mugabe
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(CNN) -- Zimbabwe's Supreme Court Wednesday ordered that a top opposition politician be released from prison on bail, the opposition party said.

Roy Bennett

Roy Bennett is a white farmer and an ardent critic of President Robert Mugabe's policies.

The Movement for Democratic Change did not indicate exactly when Roy Bennett would be released.

Bennett, 52, is the opposition's choice to be deputy agriculture minister in the new power-sharing government.

He was arrested February 13 on charges of possessing weapons for sabotage, banditry and terrorism. Initially, he was charged with treason.

Last month, Judge Tedious Karwi of Zimbabwe's High Court ordered Bennett released on bail, saying granting the $2,000 bail was "in the interest of justice."

The state lost an appeal in High Court, and then appealed the bail decision to the Supreme Court.

The state contends Bennett is not a good candidate for bail, saying he may be a flight risk. It said earlier that if the Supreme Court were to confirm the bail order, it should impose stringent bail conditions, such as raising the bail amount to $5,000, requiring Bennett to report daily to police and to surrender the title deeds to his property.

Details of the bail conditions were not immediately known.

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The state also wants Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the MDC, to provide title deeds to his property, as he has offered to stand as a surety if Bennett flees.

Bennett is a white farmer and an ardent critic of President Robert Mugabe's policies.

-- CNN's Nkepile Mabuse contributed to this report.

All About ZimbabweRobert MugabeMorgan Tsvangirai

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