12 March 2007

Judge orders access to detained Tsvangirai

A higt court judge in Zimbabwe has ordered police to allow lawyers access to Morgan Tsvangira, who was arrested yesterday. The judge said Mr Tsvangirai should have immediate access to medical care and should be brought to his court on Tuesday morning or freed.

Mr Tsvangirai, who leads Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), was arrested after riot police broke up a public meeting in Harare. Mr Tsvangirai's lawyer Innocent Chagonda said he had seen the opposition leader from a distance of about 10m and that his head was bandaged and face.

The MDC, had split into into two rival factions over than a year ago. Both factions came together at the weekend in a rare show of unity aimed at trying to resolve the political and economic crisis in the country, including chronic unemployment and 1700% inflation, the highest in the world . They were joined by civic and religious organisations in the Save Zimbabwe Campaign. Riot police used tear gas and water cannons as they fought battles with activists gathered for the rally, opposition officials said.

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