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Detained men to appeal

Dumisani Muleya

ATTORNEYS representing the 70 suspected mercenaries held in Harare on allegations of plotting a coup in Equatorial Guinea are set to appeal a magistrate’s ruling which upheld the state’s char

ges against them.

The suspects’ lawyer Jonathan Samkange said yesterday he was working on a notice of appeal which was expected to be filed at the Harare High Court today.

“I’m preparing the notice of appeal against the magistrate’s ruling,” said Samkange. “The appeal should be ready by tomorrow (today). I will point out that the magistrate erred in his ruling because he did not deal with the issues raised.”

The magistrate, Mishrod Guvamombe, on Wednesday refused to dismiss the case against the suspects, saying he was satisfied that “an offence had been committed”.

This followed a court application by defence lawyers for the dismissal of the case on grounds that the state had no case. Samkange had argued the charges against his clients were devoid of substance.

The suspects were arrested in Harare in March allegedly on their way to oil-rich Equatorial Guinea to overthrow President Teodora Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.

They were charged with five counts for violating security, firearms, aviation and immigrations laws of Zimbabwe.

However, Samkange said the charges were unfounded because the suspects were on their way to the Democratic Republic of Congo to guard mines.

In his application for the dismissal of the case, the lawyer said the charge that the accused “attempted to conspire to possess dangerous weapons” had no substance. He said the state had failed to give details on this charge because “the allegation is without merit or basis”.

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