Mugabe wife sues over WikiLeaks diamond story

HARARE, (Reuters) – Zimbabwe President Robert  Mugabe’s wife is demanding $15 million in a lawsuit against a  private newspaper for publishing details from U.S. cables on  WikiLeaks that said she was involved in illicit diamond trading.
  
In classified documents, U.S. diplomats cite a British  mining executive as saying those close to Mugabe, including his  wife Grace, “have been extracting tremendous profits” from the  Chiadzwa mine in the eastern part of the country.
  
The allegations cover a period before the formation of a  unity government between the president and Prime Minister Morgan  Tsvangirai in February 2009. 
 
The stones dubbed “blood diamonds” because of the human  rights abuses associated with their extraction, were resold to  foreign buyers, earning each of the members of the powerful  group hundreds of thousands of dollars a month, it said.  
The weekly Standard newspaper carried the report last Sunday  naming Grace Mugabe and central bank governor Gideon Gono as  being at the centre of the illegal gem trade. 
 
In High Court papers seen by Reuters yesterday, Mrs Mugabe  said the story was false and malicious and that readers of the  paper would believe it.
  
“This is an imputation of criminality and association with  violations of human rights. Whatever it (the Standard) prints is  regarded as gospel truth by those people in Zimbabwe and  abroad,” she said. 
 
Officials from the Standard were not immediately available  and no date has been set for the case.  
Rights groups have accused Zimbabwe’s military of widespread  atrocities in the diamond fields in 2008 as Mugabe’s government  moved to stop thousands of illegal miners on the poorly secured  fields in the east of the country.  

Zimbabwe is now struggling to sell the Chiadzwa diamonds  after global gem regulator Kimberley Process barred members from  dealing in the stones, saying their certification by global  regulators did not guarantee they were free from rights abuses.

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