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Zimbabwe court frees four American medics, two others
A court in Zimbabwe set free on bail recently four American medics who had been arrested for allegedly running an unlicensed clinic and operating without the correct medical licenses.
The judge ruled that six health workers, including one from New Zealand and the other from Zimbabwe, must pay $200 bail, surrender their passports, and return to court on Sept. 27, the AP reported.
The Americans, who are Allen Temple Volunteers, are Dr. Anthony Jones, nurses Gregory Miller and David Greenberg, and administrator Gloria Cox-Crowell of the Allen Temple Baptist Church AIDS Ministry, CNN said.
The names of the New Zealander and Zimbabwean doctor are not yet confirmed. They were all ordered to stay at the Mother of Peace Orphanage outside Harare pending their trial. They face the possibility of being fined and deported, the AP reported.
They were also accused of treating AIDS patients with improper medical licenses and handing out AIDS medications without the supervision of a pharmacist, according to the AP.
The American medics were sent by the Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland, California. Rev. Theosophous Reagans, who is in charge of global missions told CNN, “We’ve always had a good relationship with authorities and people.”
Reagans told CNN it was likely an issue of miscommunication. This is the first time, after having worked in Zimbabwe for over a decade, that license issues have arisen, according to the AP.
The Allen Temple, a largely African-American church, has since 2000, sent medics to the country thrice yearly to treat patients afflicted with AIDS and to distribute medications, CNN reported.
The medics were sent to work in Harare, the capital city, and at the Mother of Peace Orphanage in Mutoko town. They were arrested last Thursday and had been in jail before their release on bail, CNN said.
The Herald, Zimbabwe’s state-run daily, quoted Detective Inspector Augustine Zimbili as saying the medics were picked up for questioning, and said registration of all medical institutions is necessary to facilitate monitoring. Zimbili told the Herald, “There is a risk of dispensation of expired drugs. When premises are not licensed, it is difficult to check if the act is being complied with,” CNN reported.
The medics have denied all charges, their attorney, Jonathan Samukange told CNN.