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Zimbabwe chief prosecutor charged with obstructing justice

[JURIST] The chief prosecutor of Zimbabwe was charged Tuesday with obstructing justice after he dropped a case against the men accused of plotting to bomb a dairy operated by members of President Robert Mugabe's [BBC backgrounder] family. He was officially charged with [AFP report] "abuse of office and obstructing justice" after authorizing the release of two of the four suspected plotters facing charges of treason. Johannes Thomas, once seen as a serious loyalist to Mugabe, has recently had a falling out with the president. The men accused of plotting the attack include the leader of the opposition party Zimbabwe People's Front, an army corporal and retired intelligence officer. Tomana appeared before a magistrate in Harare and was released on $1,000 bail after not entering a plea.

Mugabe, who has been in power since 1980, has consistently been accused of influencing and controlling the judicial system. Tomana had previously been accused of bias against Mugabe's opponents by opposition parties. Last year, he was found guilty [The Zimbabwean report] of contempt of court when he refused to prosecute a ruling party lawmaker facing rape charges. He later avoided a 30 day jail sentence after the decision was reversed. The ruling Zanu-PF party has experienced some divide [BBC report] as they have struggled to decide who will succeed 91 year-old Mugabe. One side is backing Mugabe's wife Grace, while another side is backing Deputy President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

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