UK and US blast Zimbabwe arrest
BRITAIN and the United States have protested at the arrest of Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on treason charges.
He was detained yesterday after he vowed to step up protests against President Robert Mugabe by staging strikes and demonstrations without warning.
Mr Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, was arrested at his home and taken to the main Harare police station where he was charged with treason.
Treason carries a possible death penalty in Zimbabwe.
Mr Tsvangirai is already on trial on a separate treason charge that alleges he plotted to assassinate Mr Mugabe two years ago. Mr Tsvangirai and two other opposition officials on trial with him say they have been framed by the government.
UK Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell said: "It is very worrying indeed and we are extremely concerned that Morgan Tsvangirai has been arrested for the second time in a week by the Zimbabwean government.
"That does not face up to the fundamental problems that Zimbabwe faces in terms of governance, the economy and human rights which the government ought to be focusing on, and even at this stage we would urge them, instead of rounding up opposition figures, to actually engage with the opposition and engage in dialogue."
Mr Rammell also called on neighbouring African states to "put the pressure on the Mugabe regime to actually come to its senses and come to the negotiating table and resume the inter-party dialogue."
A spokesman for the US State Department said "continued intimidation and repression" was not conducive to the dialogue the country needed.
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