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Ari Ben Menashe calls Tsvangirai 'nuts'

Staff Reporter

The main witness in the treason trial of Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who faces a hanging sentence for allegedly plotting to kill the president, said on Wednesday the politician was mad.

The main witness in the treason trial of Zimbabwe’s opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who faces a hanging sentence for allegedly plotting to kill the president, said on Wednesday the politician was mad.

“The future president of Zimbabwe is nuts,” Ari Ben Menashe shouted during cross examination in the trial of the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Defence lawyer advocate George Bizos demanded a direct apology to Tsvangirai but Menashe refused and apologised to the court. “That is clear contempt of court. I ask ... that an apology be extended to my client. My client was insulted in an open court,” Bizos said.

But Menashe remained defiant and would not directly apologise to Tsvangirai but said he would apologise to everyone in court.

The trial that has gone on for a month has at times degenerated into a slinging match during cross examination by the defence. Judge Paddington has had to restrain Ben Menashe on several occasions over his behaviour and inappropriate language use.

Tsvangirai, along with two other senior party officials, stand accused of plotting to assassinate President Robert Mugabe ahead of last year’s presidential elections.

The MDC is accused of having approached Ben Menashe, who runs a political consultancy firm in Canada, with plans to stage of a military coup d’etat and ousting Mugabe from power.

But the party claims it was set up and trapped by Mugabe’s government. - Sapa-AFP

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