Bennett had initially been charged with treason, but the charges were quickly replaced with accusations that he allegedly plotted to buy weapons to attack a telecommunications station in Bromley, east of the capital, Harare.

Bail conditions

He said he had to surrender his passport, report to a police office three times a week and hand over a deposit of US$5,000 as conditions for his bail.

Bennett said he was planning to go to Harare later on Thursday to be sworn in as deputy agriculture minister.

Morgan Tsvangirai, the prime minister and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader, had nominated Bennett as deputy agriculture minister last month.

But Bennett was arrested before he could be sworn in as part of a new coalition government, of the MDC and President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF.

Bennett's detention had raised doubts about the sustainability of the new unity government formed after almost a year of political turmoil.

Haru Mutasa, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Harare, the capital, said: "It isn't over for Roy Bennett. The trial is still continuing."

Bennett faces up to life in jail if convicted.