State prosecutors say Hitschmann is the key witness in the trial of Bennett, who is facing charges of attempting to commit acts of sabotage, banditry, insurgency and terrorism.

Bennett’s trial will kick off on October 13. He faces life in jail if convicted but Bennett has dismissed the charges as politically motivated.

Hitschmann was sentenced to four years in jail but served three years and three months.

Hitschmann was initially charged with attempting to assassinate President Mugabe and key Zanu PF politicians in Manicaland but the charges were thrown out due to lack of evidence. He was then convicted on lesser charges of possessing arms without a license.

“I was surprised to hear that I was a State witness (in Bennett’s case),” Hitschmann said. “I am certainly not going to be a State witness. I find it surprising.  Bennet has nothing to do with it.”

Hitschmann added: “He has not been to my premise and there is no link between Bennet and the fire arms. On the night of 6 March 2006 we were taken to Adams Barracks were we were tortured and forced to make certain confessions and one of the confessions incriminated Roy.”

Adams Barracks is an army camp, on the Mozambican frontier.

“According to that confession Roy and I were plotting sabotage specifically of radio and communication equipment in the area of Bromley somewhere outside Harare.”

He said some of the forced confessions were that he was plotting to assassinate President Mugabe as he celebrated his birthday bash in Mutare.

Hitschmann said he was also forced to confess that he was planning to assassinate key ZANU PF members in Mutare, Esau Mupfumi, a wealthy businessman and Enock Porusingazi, also a businessman and former MP for Chipinge South.

Charges that he wanted to assassinate President Mugabe and the two Zanu PF officials from Mutare were thrown out by High Court Judge, Justice Chitakunye, due to lack of evidence.

Hitschmann said he was disappointed he had completed his sentence while his appeal against conviction and sentence was still pending at the Supreme Court.

He said this was an indication that the justice delivery system in Zimbabwe was skewed.

Hitschmann said prison conditions were appalling and during his 40 months’ stay in prison, he saw close to 50 people die.

“The conditions can be described as a death camp,” he said.  “In my life I have been in many difficult situations but I have never seen humans die in conditions worse than animals.