Zimbabwe Jails Opposition Leaders

No. 2 faces treason charges; Tsvangirai detained, released
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 12, 2008 2:57 PM CDT
Tendai Biti, Zimbabwe's No. 2 opposition official, was arrested Thursday June 12, 2008 marking a new level of the government's crackdown two weeks before his boss faces longtime leader Robert Mugabe.   (DENIS FARRELL)
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(Newser) – President Robert Mugabe's regime struck at the opposition leadership today, just two weeks before Zimbabwe's presidential runoff election, twice detaining his challenger and jailing the opposition party's No. 2 official on treason charges, which carry the death penalty. Presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai was stopped at a roadblock and held at a police station for about two hours before being released. He returned to campaigning, and was again detained by police.

Tendai Biti, secretary-general of Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change, was arrested at Harare airport upon returning from South Africa. A police spokesman said the treason charge related to a "transition document" discussing changing Zimbabwe's government. He said Biti also would charged with making false statements "prejudicial to the state" for announcing election results before the official count was released.