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Page last updated at 14:44 GMT, Tuesday, 30 March 2010 15:44 UK

Zimbabwe artist granted bail after Matabeleland exhibit

President Robert Mugabe (file photo)
Robert Mugabe is accused of using the security forces to persecute his rivals

Zimbabwean artist Owen Maseko has been granted bail after being arrested under public order and security laws.

Mr Maseko was staging an exhibition in Bulawayo about the 1980s Matabeleland massacres carried out by troops loyal to President Robert Mugabe.

The artist was arrested at the National Gallery in Bulawayo along with the gallery curator, BBC southern Africa correspondent Karen Allen said.

Mr Maseko faces incitement charges and spent the weekend in jail.

He has been ordered to reappear in court in two weeks.

According to human rights campaigners, the Public Order and Security Act is being used to stifle political dissent in Zimbabwe.

Mr Maseko's arrest comes just days after police closed a photography exhibition in Harare showing recent human rights violations by Mr Mugabe's supporters.

One of the main subjects of the Bulawayo exhibition was the massacre of tens of thousands of ethnic Ndebeles in Matabeleland by the Zimbabwe military after the country achieved independence in 1980.

They were accused of supporting Mr Mugabe's political rival, Joshua Nkomo.

Mr Mugabe is currently in a power-sharing government with another long-time opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai.

But Mr Tsvangirai's supporters say they are still being persecuted by the security forces.



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