The charges faced by six socialists in Zimbabwe originally accused of treason have been reduced again.
They are now accused of “inciting public violence”, which carries a maximum ten year sentence.
When the case came to court on Monday they faced a maximum sentence of 20 years, for “subverting a constitutional government”.
But this charge was dropped, as an earlier charge of treason had been. The court has been adjourned until 22 August.
The Zimbabwe authorities appear to be desperately scrabbling to find a charge that they can make stick.
Police raided a meeting organised by the International Socialist Organisation (ISO) on 19 February that showed video of the Arab uprisings.
They arrested 45 people and held them in Harare Central Prison for more than two weeks. Seventeen were held in solitary confinement. Prisoners were beaten and several were tortured.
Those who became ill were denied medicine and medical treatment—even if they were HIV positive.
Following an international campaign most were released without charge.
But six, including ISO coordinator Munyaradzi Gwisai, were charged with treason—which carries a death penalty.
David Mpatsi, who had joined the ISO at the beginning of 2010, was one of those released in March after being held in solitary confinement.
Last week he tragically died from a lung infection. His health had rapidly deteriorated following his imprisonment. (for more details of David's case go to Zimbabwe socialist dies after imprisonment)
Hundreds of socialists attended David’s funeral last Saturday. He leaves a wife and three children.
Demonstrators protested outside the Zimbabwe High Commission in central London last week in support of the defendants.
For more details go to www.isozim.blogspot.com or on Facebook “Socialist Zimbabwe”
To help those still on trial donate to the solidarity fund. Account Name: CDL–MINE–LINE Worker Solidarity Fund.
Deposit reference: Zimbabwe Treason Trialists Solidarity Fund. Bank: NEDBANK, Killarney Branch, PO Box 87157, Houghton, 2041, South Africa. Branch code: 191 60535 Current account number: 100 185 3784. SWIFT code: NEDSZAJJ. Please email details of what you have deposited to [email protected]