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Zimbabwe cabinet nominee trial set for October

[JURIST] The lawyer for jailed Zimbabwe opposition cabinet member-designate Roy Bennett [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] said Wednesday that his trial on terrorism charges will begin on October 13. Trust Maanda [advocacy profile] said that prosecutors have also revised [Reuters report] the conditions of Bennett's bail [JURIST report], requiring him to report bi-monthly to police, rather than three times a week [AFP report]. Bennett, the treasurer general of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) [party website] party of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], faces charges under Zimbabwe's Public Order and Security Act [materials] for "attempting to commit terrorism, banditry and sabotage."

Bennett, who was arrested in February shortly before he was scheduled to be sworn as deputy agriculture minister in the new power-sharing coalition government [BBC report] led by Tsvangirai, is accused [JURIST report] of funding the purchase of fire arms and explosives intended to be used as part of an insurgency. It is feared that Bennett's arrest could pose a threat to the power-sharing agreement [JURIST report] between the MDC and the African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party of President Robert Mugabe [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. Bennett was originally sought for questioning [JURIST report] in relation to the allegations in 2006, but he had been seeking asylum in South Africa until recently [IOL report]. Treason charges against him were dropped [Times report] in favor of the terrorism and other charges.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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