Zimbabwe court releases opposition leader Arthur Mutambara

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A court in Zimbabwe Tuesday freed on bail an opposition leader arrested at the weekend for allegedly violating the country’s tough media laws. Arthur Mutambara was arrested Sunday and accused of publishing falsehoods after he contributed an article four weeks ago to a privately-owned newspaper, criticising President Robert Mugabe. Police said the article, which also led to the arrest of the newspaper’s editor on similar charges, contained falsehoods. Mutambara is the leader of one of the two factions of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, which in elections March dislodged Mugabe’s parliamentary control for the first time in the country’s post-independence history. The leader of the main faction of the party, Morgan Tsvangirai, beat Mugabe in the presidential segment of the elections, narrowly failing to garner enough votes to be declared outright winner. He is due to lock horns with the veteran Zimbabwean leader in a run-off presidential election 27 June. The two factions have united for the upcoming poll. The court ordered Mutambara to pay Z$20 billion (Z$7.5 billion=1US$) bail, and not to leave the country until his case is finalised. He is due back in court 17 June.

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