"The magistrate refused to remand Biti, and accepted our argument that the state had broken its own undertakings to the court to proceed to facilitate a speedy trial," Lewis Uriri, Biti's lawyer, said.

Biti was charged with seeking to oust Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwe president, unconstitutionally by saying Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, had won a March 2008 poll against Mugabe outright.

Biti, who led the MDC's team in negotiating a unity government with Mugabe's Zanu-PF, says the charges were trumped up.

Unity government

The court reprieve for Biti is likely to ease tensions between Zanu-PF and the MDC after months of political unrest which has contributed to the country's continued economic dilapidation.

On Thursday, the parliament passed a constitutional bill to allow the establishment of a coalition government under a power sharing deal signed in September.

The MDC agreed to join the unity government last week, a move previously held up by arguments over the division of power in government.

Zanu-PF and the MDC have been jostling to finalise the unity government since last year's disputed run-off vote, which Tsvangirai boycotted due to citied violence against his supporters.