HARARE — A high court judge released Wednesday six Zimbabweans charged with treason for discussing the mass protests in Egypt that toppled president Hosni Mubarak on $2,000 (1,400 euros) bail.
Munyaradzi Gwisai, a former lawmaker from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's party, and his five co-accused were arrested in February with 40 other people who were later released for lack of evidence.
High court judge Samuel Kudya said the case against Gwisai and his colleagues was weak.
"I see no iota of evidence that any Zimbabwean ever contemplated a Tunisian and Egyptian revolution," Kudya said in his ruling.
"Treason is difficult to prove beyond reasonable doubt, as determined by the Tsvangirai case," the judge said, referring to the now-prime minister's treason trial after he was accused in 2002 of seeking to topple President Robert Mugabe.
The judge ordered Gwisai and his co-accused to report three times a week to the police and not interfere with witnesses.
The judge dismissed claims by prosecutors that Gwisai would abscond if granted bail.
"All applicants are not a flight risk," the judge said. "It is unlikely they will intervene with state witnesses."
Treason carries the death sentence in Zimbabwe.
The arrests drew international condemnation, including from the UN's human rights chief and the US State Department, which said Mugabe, in power since 1980, "did not learn the right lessons" from the popular revolts in Egypt and Tunisia.
Copyright © 2013 AFP. All rights reserved. More »