The case against five Zimbabwean war veterans, charged with insulting President Robert Mugabe, has collapsed.
A magistrate’s court in the capital, Harare, set aside the charges after the prosecution was not ready to proceed with the trial for two consecutive days.
The five were charged after issuing a statement earlier this year, accusing Mr Mugabe, 92, of “dictatorial” behaviour and saying they would not support him for re-election in the 2018 poll.
Among those put on trial were Victor Matemadanda, former Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association’s secretary-general, and Douglas Mahiya, its former spokesman.
All five have been expelled from the ruling Zanu-PF party.
For the trial to resume, the prosecution will have to file the case afresh and summon back to court the war veterans, their lawyer Harrison Nkomo is quoted by AFP news agency as saying.
Mr Mugabe, who looks increasingly frail, has been in power since independence in 1980.
Zimbabwe war veterans ‘celebrating’
Zimbabwe’s war veterans are celebrating after a Harare magistrate suspended their trial and removed their five leaders from the remand roll.
They had been put on trial for insulting the 92-year-old president, Robert Mugabe, under a controversial law.
However the state, which the defence accused of being disorganised, failed to produce a valid prosecution certificate.
It will now have to proceed by summons if it decides to reinstate the charges.
The five were arrested in July and August after an unsigned communique went public.
The document, allegedly authored by the politically influential war veterans association, labelled President Mugabe egocentric and dictatorial and threatened to withdraw its support for his 2018 election campaign.
Defence attorney Beatrice Mtetwa says that while the group’s bail conditions have been dropped, she cannot anticipate what the prosecution’s next move will be