'Zimbabwe ministry pick's treason charges dropped' | world | Hindustan Times
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'Zimbabwe ministry pick's treason charges dropped'

world Updated: Feb 16, 2009 05:20 IST

The treason charges against Zimbabwe ministerial nominee Roy Bennett have been dropped but replaced with attempt to commit terrorism, banditry and sabotage, his lawyer said.

"The police must have realised that they had no leg to stand on. Their case would not hold water," said Trust Maanda.

"Bennett is currently being interviewed by the police. He is now appearing in court on Monday facing fresh charges," added Maanda.

Bennett is a member of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) which struck a power-sharing deal with veteran President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party.

Designated to become deputy agriculture minister, Bennett was arrested on Friday at an airport outside Harare shortly before President Robert Mugabe swore in new ministers for the unity government.

The power-sharing government will see the country's bitter enemies try and work together to pull Zimbabwe out of a deep crisis marked by hunger, the world's highest inflation rate and a deadly cholera epidemic.

Bennett is a coffee farmer from Chimanimani, a lush region near Mozambique. He had returned last month from three years of self-imposed exile in South Africa, where he fled to escape charges of plotting to kill Mugabe.