Mike Campbell, white Zimbabwean farmer, dies

Mike Campbell Mike Campbell took Robert Mugabe to court over the land seizures

Mike Campbell - the white Zimbabwean farmer who took President Robert Mugabe to court in 2007 over his programme of land seizures - has died.

Mr Campbell won the case in a regional court but Zimbabwe's government ignored the ruling.

His family says the 78 year old never fully recovered after he was abducted and badly beaten by militants.

His fight through the courts was told in the award-winning documentary Mugabe and the White African.

BBC southern Africa correspondent Karen Allen says Mr Campbell became one of the most well-known names in the white farming community in Zimbabwe.

The tribunal set up by the Southern African regional body Sadc ruled that the land reform programme was illegal and discriminatory but the intimidation continued, our correspondent says.

Many farm properties were burnt and farmers and labourers were chased off their land.

By mid-2008, two days before a presidential run-off, Mr Campbell and members of his family were abducted and taken to a remote military camp.

There they were severely beaten and forced to sign a document to say they would withdraw the case.

In November that year the tribunal ruled in Mr Campbell's favour and directed the Zimbabwean government to protect the farmers' property rights.

In response, Zimbabwe's government said that land reform, one of Mr Mugabe's central policies, could not be reversed.

The president vowed to take more farms and said land issues were not subject to the Sadc tribunal.

When the farm invasions began in 2000, there were some 4,000 farms owned by white people.

To date, only about 300 remain - and evictions - albeit at a slower pace - continue, our reporter says.

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