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Zimbabwe: human rights activist freed

 Jestina Mukoko, a leading human rights campaigner in Zimbabwe who was abducted at dawn three months ago by state security agents, was freed on bail on Monday with four others. Campaigners have welcomed the news. Last year church leaders from all denominations joined in calls for her release.

Ms Mukoko, who headed a civic group that documented state-sponsored acts of murder and torture committed before the country's election runoff last June, was held for weeks in secret locations.

She testified that she was beaten on the soles of her feet and forced to kneel on gravel during interrogations intended to force her to confess to recruiting youths for military training in Botswana. She wept as she related how her family believed she had been killed.

Ms Mukoko was recently taken to a clinic in Harare, where she was being treated for high blood pressure and injuries that doctors said were consistent with torture. She had been kept in the clinic with her right foot shackled to her bed. She lost a quarter of her weight in custody.

Ms Mukoko and the other detainees still face charges of plotting sabotage, but their lawyers say all the charges have been fabricated.