Catholic Missionary and Christian Religious Released on Bail

The catholic missionary and the other Christian religious that were arrested last Saturday in Bulawayo (second city of Zimbabwe), were released on bail yesterday afternoon. Father Kevin O'Doherty, (69 years of age, originally from Detroit) belonging to the missionaries of Mariannhill showed up in the court together with other 10 religious members and at the end of the trial, the judge agreed that they could all be released following the payment of 1000 Zimbabwean dollars each. The judge also said that the religious would have to show up at the court every Friday, until the case was not closed. The Anglican pastor Noel Scott, was seperatelly locked up in a different prison from that which hosted the other religious, his passport was also confiscated. The procedures should resume again on March 4. The arrests were carried out last Saturday in reference to a extremely restrictive interpretation of the new law on public order, which forbids unauthorised gatherings. The law is clearly turned to limit the activities of the political opposition in Zimbabwe, but in this case it was applied against a procession for peace organised by the church. Among other things, part of this controversial normative, was brought to the attention of the Supreme Court of Harare, an initiative taken by the main opposition party MDC (Movement for Democratic Change), who sustains that it is unconstitutional. The Court should have pronounced its opinion yesterday, but limited itself to announce the postponement of the sentence. (CO)