Opposition MDC Alliance principal Tendai Biti was today granted $5000 bail by the magistrates court. Part of his bail conditions include residing at a given address and handing in his passport.
Biti was in police custody on Thursday after Zambia rejected his asylum bid and deported him, as fears grew about a government crackdown following Zimbabwe’s disputed election.
“We will keep on fighting,” Biti said as he arrived at court in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, where he was charged with inciting public violence. If convicted he could face up to a decade in prison.
The former finance minister also faces charges of declaring “unofficial or fake” election results, which has a maximum six-month sentence, according to police spokeswoman Charity Charamba.
A joint statement by the heads of missions in Zimbabwe of the European Union, the United States, Canada and Australia urgently called on Zimbabwean authorities to guarantee Biti’s safety and respect his rights.
It said diplomats were “deeply disturbed” by reports of security forces targeting the opposition.
Over 300 Zimbabwean travellers blocked attempts by state security agents to abduct Biti at the Zimbabwe-Zambia border on Wednesday. Biti shouted out for help as suspected military intelligence officers tried to abduct him on the Zambian side of the border.
Zambian officials then intervened and threatened to arrest the Zimbabwean officers for “executing their mandate on Zambian soil”.