Zimbabwe selling diamonds 'mined by slaves' on int'l market

August 11, 2010 17:17

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe  is selling millions of carats of rough diamonds from an area where soldiers killed 200 people and forced children into hard labor.

The jewels were certified ready for sale on Wednesday after the international blood diamonds monitor said the stones met minimum international standards.Heavily armed police and soldiers guarded top security vaults built at the main Harare airport, where several private jets brought buyers from Israel, India, Lebanon and Russia, officials said.

Investigators said the gems were mined by virtual slaves who had been told to dig or die, and were smuggled out by soldiers who raped and beat civilians.

Zimbabwe's mines ministry accuses human rights groups of "peddling falsehoods" over rights violations

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