A former Zimbabwean lawmaker and 45 others were charged with treason on Wednesday for discussing the mass protests in Egypt which drove president Hosni Mubarak out of power, a lawyer said.
“They appeared in court this afternoon and they are facing charges of treason or alternatively subverting a constitutionally-elected government,” their attorney Alec Muchadehama said.
“The case will continue tomorrow and we will raise complaints against the police including the beatings.”
Munyaradzi Gwisai, a university lecturer and former lawmaker from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party was arrested on Saturday along with members of the audience at a meeting to discuss mass protests in Egypt.
The group was held at Harare central police station.
Police spokesperson James Sabau was quoted in a state newspaper as saying police seized a video projector, two DVDs and a laptop at the meeting whose theme was “Revolt in Egypt and Tunisia: What lessons can be learnt by Zimbabwe and Africa?”
“The video showed the uprising and demonstrations and the subsequent removal of President Hosni Mubarak, the former Egyptian president and Zine El Abidine Ben Ali [of Tunisia],” the paper quoted Sabau as saying.
In Zimbabwe a conviction for treason carries the death sentence. — Sapa-AFP