Roy Bennett

Swedish Presidency Slams Mugabe

The Swedish EU presidency has criticized the decision by a Zimbabwe court to send a close aide to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to jail – calling it an act of "politically motivated abuse".

In a statement released on the official Web site of the Presidency Sweden as the current leader of the EU “regrets that politically motivated abuse persists in the country". Further, the presidency states that "the decision taken yesterday [i.e. Wednesday], together with reports during the last few months of unsubstantiated legal measures taken against several MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) members of parliament, is cause for serious concern".

Zimbabwean magistrate Lucy Mungwari earlier ordered ministerial nominee Roy Bennett, a close aide to Tsvangirai, back to jail to face terrorism charges next week. Bennett's trial is expected to start on Monday in the high court of the eastern town of Mutare.

The move "indicates a lack of commitment to the letter and spirit of the Global Political Agreement (GPA)," which allowed for the formation of Zimbabwe's unity government including both Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe.

The Swedish presidency’s statement recalled that the parties to the GPA "agreed last year to build a society free of violence, fear, intimidation and hatred. This commitment should be honoured without delay."

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