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Zimbabwe terrorism case against MDC cabinet nominee postponed

[JURIST] Criminal proceedings against Zimbabwe Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) [party website] party treasurer general and cabinet member-designate Roy Bennett were delayed [Harare Tribune report] Monday, as members of his party continued to protest his arrest [MDC press release]. According to the MDC, Bennett faces charges under Zimbabwe's Public Order and Security Act [materials] for "attempting to commit terrorism, banditry and sabotage." Bennett, who was scheduled to be sworn in last week as deputy agriculture minister in the new power-sharing coalition government [BBC report] led by MDC head Morgan Tsvangirai, is accused of funding the purchase of fire arms and explosives intended to be used as part of an insurgency. The MDC has characterized Bennett's arrest as an abduction [press release], and there has been speculation that it 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 is now expected to appear in court on either Tuesday or Wednesday, when the MDC is expected to post his bail.

Police originally sought Bennett for questioning [JURIST report] in relation to the allegations in 2006, but he had been seeking asylum in South Africa until recently [IOL report]. Bennett had also faced treason charges, but they were dropped [Times report] in favor of the terrorism and other charges.

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