The incident in Zimbabwe is part of a larger crackdown south of the Sahara on pro-democracy activists, many of whom have been inspired by Tunisia and Egypt.
Court documents show two ministers are defying President Robert Mugabe in a power struggle over control of a mining company.
Law enforcement officials are carrying out a covert operation to arrest Movement for Democratic Change politicians on trumped up charges as a way to diminish the opposition's clout in a fragile unity government, say MDC officials.
Fresh details of recent abductions, beatings, and forced confessions of Zimbabwe's opposition leaders and civic activists emerged Tuesday during a press conference.
Twenty activists from the Movement for Democratic Change opposition party have been abducted since October. Their whereabouts are still unknown.