Tatchell charged for `arrest' of Mugabe

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PETER TATCHELL, the gay rights campaigner, was charged yesterday with using threatening words and behaviour after trying to carry out a citizen's arrest on Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe.

Mr Tatchell, 47, also faces charges of assaulting a police officer following his protest during Mr Mugabe's visit to London last month. Both charges carry a maximum six month prison term and a pounds 5,000 fine. The incident, involving members of the OutRage! gay rights pressure group, happened as Mr Mugabe's motorcade left his Buckingham Gate hotel on 30 October.

Running into the road, demonstrators forced his car to stop, in a protest over the alleged torture of two journalists. Mr Tatchell said he told the African leader: "President Mugabe, you are under arrest for torture. Torture is a crime under international law." He then turned to Mr Mugabe's security guards and asked them to "call the police".

Mr Tatchell, who was released on bail after his arrest, was charged at Belgravia Police Station yesterday. He says he will plead not guilty to the charges when the case comes before Horseferry Road Magistrates Court on Friday. Two other men, aged 31 and 20, who were arrested during the protest have been ordered to return to Belgravia Police Station.