- Zimbabwe's Deputy Minister of Agriculture designate, Roy Bennett has walked out of Mutare prison today, after spending a month behind bars on charges of banditry and terrorism. Mr Bennett has however denied the charges.
Mr Bennett who paid US$5, 000 to secure his freedom was freed a day after the country's Supreme Court ordered his release on bail. He was arrested on 13 February.
The Supreme Court yesterday dismissed the State’s appeal against High Court decision granting Mr Bennett bail but increased the bail money from US$2 000 to $5 000.
“As part of his stringent bail conditions, Mr Bennett will report three times a week at Harare Central Police Station and has surrendered his travel documents and the title deeds of his property to the Clerk of court,” Movement for Democratic Change said in a statement.
Mr Bennett, said that he was ready to take up any post given to him by the party and the people of Zimbabwe, saying he had no hard feelings over anyone who blocked the legal process.
Analysts said the case created further tensions in the new unity administration, formed last month, with MDC officials accusing President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF of trying to derail a power-sharing arrangement.
However, the MDC and its leader have sounded unwilling to quit the unity government despite the arrest of Mr Bennett, saying the power-sharing government was the only viable option to pluck Zimbabwe out of the economic crisis and misery.
Mr Bennett, a close ally to MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, was first charged with leaving the country illegally, then changed to treason before being changed once more to conspiring to acquire arms of war with a view to disrupt essential services.
Mr Bennett who was granted political asylum in South Africa in 2007 after fleeing Zimbabwe after police discovered an arms cache at a house in Mutare returned home last month to work in the new government.
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