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Zimbabwe farmers ordered to stand trial for ignoring state eviction order

[JURIST] Zimbabwe [JURIST news archive] Magistrate Tinashe Ndokera on Thursday denied a motion by eleven white farmers to have their state-sponsored eviction notices thrown out, and instead ordered the men to stand trial for failing to vacate their property by the notices' September 30 deadline [VOA report]. David Drury, a lawyer for the farmers, argued that charges of violating the order should be dropped, or at the very least, transferred to Zimbabwe's Supreme Court as they involved constitutional issues. Ndokera categorized these arguments as "a delaying tactic." If found guilty, the farmers face hefty fines or up to two years in prison.

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] has been harshly criticized [Guardian article] for his farm seizure program [JURIST article] which seeks to redistribute white-owned land among the nation's native farmers. The government has appropriated some 4000 farms through the program and many attribute Zimbabwe's inflation rate, which is reportedly exceeding 5000 percent, to these actions as previously productive farms have become barren under the new inexperienced owners. BBC News has more.

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