A Zimbabwean court on Monday freed on bail four Americans arrested and accused of treating AIDS patients without proper medical licenses.
A magistrate ordered the six health workers, who included a New Zealand national and a Zimbabwean, to pay a $200 bail and to reappear in court on Sept. 27. They could face a fine and deportation if convicted. The court ordered them to surrender their passports and live at their Mother of Peace Orphanage outside Harare until their trial.
The six are also accused of distributing AIDS medications without a pharmacist's supervision or a license.
U.S. embassy officials said the group pleaded innocent to the charges related to their work at two clinics, one in Harare and the other in Mutoko, 160 kilometers (100 miles) northeast of Harare.
The California church that sponsors their work says the church has been working in Zimbabwe for more than a decade and that this is the first time licensing questions have been raised.
American citizens Gloria Cox Crowell, 48, Dr. Anthony Eugene Jones, 39, Gregory Renard Miller, 64 and David Greenburg, 62, were thronged by children and family members from their Christian congregation as the left the courthouse. In emotional scenes, children ran up to hug the six health workers. Earlier inside the hearing, patients' faces were wet with tears.