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Zimbabwe activists remain locked up

  • Story Highlights
  • 14 activists to remain jailed pending trial over alleged plot to topple Robert Mugabe
  • Most of those held are members of anti-Mugabe Movement for Democratic Change
  • Activists charged with recruiting Zimbabweans for military training, banditry
  • MDC threatens to renege on power-sharing deal unless detainees released
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HARARE, Zimbabwe (CNN) -- A court in Zimbabwe ordered 14 activists to remain in jail Wednesday, pending a Supreme Court hearing over their alleged participation in a plot to topple the government of President Robert Mugabe. Two other activists facing lesser charges were released.

Zimbabwean human rights activist Jestina Mukoko arrives at court in Harare, Zimbabwe, on Wednesday.

Zimbabwean human rights activist Jestina Mukoko arrives at court in Harare, Zimbabwe, on Wednesday.

"It is clear that the attorney general has appealed against the high court judgment," said magistrate Judge Mishrod Guvamombe. "For that reason, the accused cannot be released at this stage."

The date of the high court hearing was not immediately known.

Jestina Mukoko, head of a local rights group Zimbabwe Peace Project, and eight other activists were charged last week with recruiting Zimbabweans to undergo military training for that purpose. The state has also charged seven other activists with banditry, which carries the death penalty in Zimbabwe.

One of those charged was Shandreck Manyere, a freelance journalist who says he was tortured while in police custody.

Most of those arrested are members of the Movement for Democratic Change, whose leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, challenged incumbent President Robert Mugabe.

The MDC denies the charges of banditry. Tsvangirai has threatened to pull out of the power-sharing deal he signed with Mugabe in September if the detainees are not released by year's end. The deal followed hotly disputed elections in June that were marred by more than 200 deaths.

All About ZimbabweRobert MugabeMorgan Tsvangirai

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