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Seven Maldives activists freed

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SEVEN human rights activists who were accused of plotting to topple the government after attending a workshop in Maldives were freed yesterday.

They were removed from remand after the State failed to provide them with a trial date.
George Makoni, Tatenda Mombeyarara, Gamuchirai Mukura, Nyasha Mpahlo, Farirayi Gumbonzvanda, Sithabile Dewa and Beauty Rita Nyampinga were facing subversion charges.

Gumbonzvanda made an appeal to the High Court after an application for refusal of further remand was dismissed by the lower court.

The appeal succeeded and stated that he should be removed from remand if he is not indicted or provided with a trial date.

This resulted in him and his colleagues being freed when they appeared before Harare magistrate Barbra Mateko. The seven were alleged to have received training on how to operate small arms, evade arrest during civil unrest and were taught on counter intelligence and acts of terrorism.

During a workshop in Maldives, it was alleged, the seven received training on how to mobilise citizens to turn against the government and to engage in acts of civil disobedience and or resistance to any law during the anticipated national protest by anti-government movements.

When they initially appeared in court, they complained that when they were arrested, they were never informed of reasons for their arrest, denied access to their lawyers, denied sleep for 22 hours after enduring a 22-hour flight, denied access to water, food, and communication with relatives.

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