Zimbabwe rules on Bennett witness

Zimbabwe's High Court has said a former arms dealer can appear as a prosecution witness in the trial of Roy Bennett, a senior aide to PM Morgan Tsvangirai.

However, the judge also permitted the defence to allege that Peter Hitschmann had been tortured into giving evidence.

Mr Bennett's trial on terrorism charges has stalled over procedural issues.

The ruling comes as ministers from Mr Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) attended the first cabinet meeting since they ended a boycott.

Mr Bennett, a former farmer, denies all the charges against him, which include terrorism, insurgency, sabotage and banditry.

He had been due to be sworn in as deputy agriculture minister when he was arrested and the MDC says the trial is politically motivated.

Lawyers for Mr Bennett said Mr Hitschmann, who was cleared of the same charges Mr Bennett is facing, had not previously been linked to the case and that his testimony was in effect fabricated.

The MDC had pulled out of the coalition government with President Robert Mugabe for three weeks in protest, in part, over Mr Bennett's treatment. More:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8355181.stm