Six former aides of the self-exiled Zimbabwe opposition leader Joshua Nkomo were cleared of treason and law and order charges on April 28.
1. GV EXTERIOR High Court building, Harare. 0.06
2. SV INTERIOR People being searched as they enter the court. 0.21
3. GV Passage leading to court cells. 0.26
4. GV People coming out of the court clapping and cheering after the verdict. (2 SHOTS) 0.48
5. SV PAN Defendants coming out of court, Mrs Dabengwa greeted by crowd waving and cheering. (3 SHOTS) 1.10
6. CU PAN Mrs Masuku PAN BACK TO Mrs Dabengwa. 1.22
7. GV PAN Prison van leaving court with one of accused still inside. 1.34
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Background: HARARE, ZIMBABWE
Six former aides of the self-exiled Zimbabwe opposition leader Joshua Nkomo were cleared of treason and law and order charges on April 28. But defence lawyers said police had again detained their clients after they were acquitted. There was tight security in Harare as family, friends and supporters crowded into the High Court to hear the verdict. Dumiso Dabengwa, former intelligence chief of Mr. Nkomo's disbanded ZIPRA guerrilla army, and former Zimbabwe Army Commander, Lookout Masuku, and four others had been on trial since February. All except Mr. Dabengwa had been cleared of treason in March and faced the one charge of helping former ZIPRA guerrillas to hide arms. In his four hour judgement, Judge Hilary Squires said the evidence of three key state witnesses had been highly inconsistent. He said Mr. Dabengwa, who was alleged to have sought help from the Soviet Secret Police, the KGB, to change the policies of Prime Minister Robert Mugabe's government, had impressed the court as a reliable witness. Judge Squires found that former ZIPRA guerrillas had hidden arms in the Midlands and in Mr. Nkomo's stronghold Matabeleland without the knowledge of the accused. After the judgement supporters broke into song and dance outside the court before the freed men were taken away by police. Under Zimbabwe's emergency laws, they can be detained indefinitely.
Source: REUTERS - GEOFF CHILTON