Zimbabwe minister denied immunity in murder trial

Zimbabwe Cabinet minister Edgar Tekere lost a bid to have his prosecution for murder stopped when three appeal court judges refused to consider an argument that he was protected by an "anti-terrorism" act drafted by the former white government. The manpower planning minister and his seven bodyguards are charged with the murder of a white farm manager and the attempted murder of five black soldiers.

Defense lawyer Louis Blom-Cooper said he would seek to establish that the court had no jurisdiction because of the 1975 Indemnity and Compensation Act, which bestows immunity on government leaders and their servants acting to suppress "terrorism." He said Mr. Tekere believed there had been an attempt on his life and acted in good faith "for the suppression of terrorism."

Asked to plead in the High Court, Mr. Tekere said: "I plead the Indemnity and Compensation Act and therefore not guilty."

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