Zimbabwe could not have lousier timing for its first sale of diamonds from the controversial Marange mines since the military took over the fields. The sale coincided with the 'blood diamond' phase of former Liberian ruler Charles Taylor's war crimes trial. Although Taylor's trial and the Zim diamonds are unrelated, the sale sparked fears that the stones were harvested under inhumane conditions. The stones went on sale in Harare on Tuesday, netting $72 million. The Marange fields have been in the military's hands since 2008, and there are widespread reports of human rights abuses in the mines. The sale was allowed under the Kimberley Process after a monitor certified the diamonds that were on sale were conflict-free. Previously, trading in diamonds from Zimbabwe had been prohibited under the Kimberley Process after the military seized the fields, killing 200 people, raping women and enslaving children in the process. Read more: The AP and CNN.
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