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Mercenaries still in jail: lawyer
The alleged mercenaries should have been released on Tuesday when their sentences expired
The 62 alleged mercenaries, imprisoned for a year in Zimbabwe, were still in
Chikurubi prison at 8am, Alwyn Griebenow, their lawyer said today. The men
should have been released on Tuesday when their sentences expired. However, they
remained in the Chikurubi maximum security prison for several more days, though,
from Thursday, in the care of immigration officials. Immigration officials have
changed their minds several times about when the 62 would be released. They have
also refused to say how and when the group would return to South
By this morning the two options were sending them by road to Beit Bridge where journalists have been awaiting their arrival since Wednesday, or by chartered aircraft. The 62 were among 70 men who were arrested in March last year when their Boeing 727 stopped in Harare to pick up weapons that Zimbabwe alleges were to be used to depose Teodoro Obiang Nguema, the long-time Equato-Guinean dictator, in Malabo.
Briton Simon Mann, founder of the defunct mercenary outfit Executive Outcomes and the suspected mastermind of the alleged coup, remains behind bars as he is serving a four-year term on more serious charges of breaching firearms laws. Two pilots who flew the plane into Harare are due for release in two months. The three-million-dollar Boeing 727 that flew them into Harare has been forfeited to Zimbabwe.
Mark Thatcher, the former British prime minister son, was accused of partly financing the alleged plot to install Severo Moto, the opposition leader in Malabo, and pleaded guilty to contravening the Regulation of Foreign Military Assistance Act in January. Although he paid a R3 million fine, he still strongly denies knowingly taking part in the conspiracy. - Sapa