Zimbabwe activists convicted in Arab Spring video trial


Munyaradzi Gwisai, a University of Zimbabwe lecturer and former member of parliament, and five other people were found guilty March 19, 2012, of conspiracy to incite public violence for last year watching videos of the Arab Spring uprisings.

JOHANNESBURG — A group of Zimbabwean activists who were arrested for watching video footage of the Arab Spring uprising in Egypt have been convicted of conspiracy to incite public violence.

Six people, including University of Zimbabwe lecturer Munyaradzi Gwisai, were found guilty today in a Harare court by Magistrate Kudakwashe Jarabini, SW Radio Africa said.

Gwisai, who is also a former member of parliament for Morgan Tsvangirai's party, as well as Antoinette Choto, Tatenda Mombeyarara, Edson Chakuma, Hopewell Gumbo and Welcome Zimuto face up to 10 years in prison.

Sentencing is expected to place tomorrow.

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The group was arrested in February 2011 along with 39 other human rights activists, and accused of plotting to destabilize the government. They were initially charged with treason, which carries the death penalty, but the charges were later downgraded to inciting public violence.

They had been watching videos of the uprising in Egypt, and holding a debate to discuss lessons for Africa from the Arab Spring, when police raided the meeting.

Supporters of the activists have said they will picket the Zimbabwe consulate in Johannesburg tomorrow.

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