They appeared before a Harare magistrate, where they were alleged to have received training in the Maldives in acts of terrorism and civil disobedience. The state says they had attended a workshop there organised by a Serbian group.
The five were arrested at Harare airport on their return. The state believes they were trained to operate firearms and to mobilise citizens to turn against the government and to evade arrest. The police say others are still at large.
The five deny the charges. Their lawyers accuse President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government of targeting human rights defenders and citizens.