Zimbabwe activists back in jail

Harare – A High court on Tuesday postponed for the second time the case of leading rights activist Jestina Mukoko and eight others accused of trying to overthrow the Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe's regime.

The postponement means the group will remain at the notorious Chikurubi Maximum Security prison until January 14, despite a separate application in the High Court to have them released to hospital.

"The court is of the view that remand proceedings should be postponed as the defence is pursuing applications in superior courts," Harare magistrate Olivia Mariga said.

"The accused will remain in custody pending the determination of the matters in the superior courts."

Mukoko was seized from her home on December 3 by armed men who identified themselves as police.

She is accused of recruiting people for military training in neighbouring Botswana, aimed at toppling Mugabe’s government.

Last week, Mukoko, a former broadcaster, made her first court appearance after being detained at an unknown location for weeks, amid torture claims.

Her arrest has sparked an outcry from international rights organisations lamenting the declining rule of law in the crisis-torn country.

Widespread human rights abuse cases in Zimbabwe highlight the country’s deepening political crisis more than three months after Mugabe signed, but did not implement, a power-sharing deal with the opposition.