Roy Bennett remains in custody today, and authorities intend to hold him until at least March 4, it was said in an MDC press release. As Bennett is held on charges of 'terrorism,' Zimbabwe military police backed by Mugabe have tried to use him as a political pawn to ensure their own blanket amnesty, no doubt sensing that Mugabe's ZANU-PF party is bound to lose power in the near future. One of my colleagues who I've worked with in Africa and who I know and trust, said that when Roy Bennett was told that Mugabe's men were trying to use him to bargain for amnesty, he immediately said, "stick it."
I know Roy Bennett from my time in the region, and can say without a doubt that he is one of the most courageous men I've ever met, with an unending determination to fight for a safe and prosperous Zimbabwe.
Here's an excerpt of a press release published by the MDC today:
MDC Treasurer General, and Deputy Minister of Agriculture designate, Roy Bennett has been remanded in custody to the 4th of March 2009. The Magistrate indicated that he would hear submission and arguments on whether or not to grant him bail tomorrow (Thursday 19 February 2009).
These delay tactics are merely intended to frustrate and harass Roy Bennett into submission. Roy Bennett remains steadfast that he will not be used as ransom and horse traded for any political convenience.
The inclusive government must give confidence to Zimbabweans that it respects citizens human rights. Roy Bennett must be released unconditionally immediately.
Remember, that what we're doing here is getting to the fearless people on the ground in Zimbabwe. In a country plagued by the human rights abuses perpetrated by the Mugabe regime, this kind of encouragement is exactly what is needed to keep Roy's message alive. The people of Zimbabwe won't let Mugabe's military cronies get away with the crimes they have committed, and neither will Roy. Help keep this story out there, pass the word along.
Also, a special thanks to David Shuster, host of MSNBC's "1600 Pennsylvania Ave." David has been instrumental in keeping this story on the air, reminding viewers of Roy's imprisonment every day live on the national news. For more from David, you can follow him on Twitter (@Shuster1600).
And as always, for more updates from me, come back here often and follow me on Twitter (@joetrippi).