Zimbabwe 6 guilty of inciting violence

2012-03-19 18:01

Special Report

Cowboy hats, cake and a cooler box: Mugabe's birthday highlights
Cowboy hats, cake and a cooler box: Mugabe's birthday highlights

First Lady Grace Mugabe has led thousands of revellers in singing Happy Birthday to her visibly tired husband, Zimbabwe's longtime ruler Robert Mugabe at a party to mark his 93rd birthday that was heavily criticised by the opposition.

Harare - Six Zimbabwean activists arrested a year ago at a public debate on the Egyptian uprising were found guilty by a court in Harare Monday of inciting public violence.

"The accused are found guilty as charged," magistrate Kudakwashe Jarabini said.

Hearings on sentencing are due to begin on Tuesday, and the six risk up to 10 years in jail.

They were among 45 activists arrested in February 2011 while watching a video of the protests which forced Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak to step down.

The meeting was meant to discuss lessons to be drawn from the Arab Spring, but the people participating were accused of scheming to overthrow long-ruling President Robert Mugabe.

The six convicted on Monday include Munyaradzi Gwisai, a university lecturer and former member of parliament from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's party.

They had initially been charged with treason, but during the course of the court process, the charges were reduced. The other 39 people have already been cleared.

Gwisai told the court during his trial that the charges were "meaningless", "outright silly" and "a case of political harassment by the state".

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  morgan tsvangirai  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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