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Zimbabwe2 July 2008

Three journalists arrested during election run-off released two days later

Three freelance journalists who were arrested in Harare during the second round of the presidential election on 27 June and were taken to Matapi police station - Richard Judson, Regis Marisamhuka and Agrisson Manyenge - were released two days later without being charged.

The police arrested them on suspicion of working without being properly accredited with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) - the usual pretext for detaining journalists. As well as organising the election, the ZEC was in charge of screening and monitoring the press.

30.06.2008 - Three of the seven journalists arrested on polling day still being held

Reporters Without Borders today condemned the arrest of seven Zimbabwean and foreign journalists during the run-off presidential election that was a foregone conclusion on 27 June. Three of them are still being held.

“In its negotiations with Robert Mugabe, the African Union should remind the outgoing head of state that journalism is not a crime”, the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

Police arrested British freelance photographer Richard Judson and Zimbabwean freelance journalists Regis Marisamhuka and Agrison Manyenge on polling day and they are still being held without charge at a Harare police station.

Tumaole Mohlaoli and Elelewani Ramphumedzi, respectively journalist and cameraman on privately-owned South African television, were arrested on the same day in the southern border town of Beitbridge. They were freed after negotiations with South African police, after spending one night in custody.

Freelance journalist Frank Chikowore and cameraman Edgar Mwandiambira, who were arrested close to the Mhofu primary school in the Highfields district of Harare were released after voting ended, also without charge. They were first taken to Southerton police station before being transferred to a station in Machipisa.

“In a Zimbabwe that is mired in an unprecedented crisis, independent witnesses are seen as enemies of the presidential party”, Reporters Without Borders said. “Arrests have become the rule and the Zimbabwean justice system is bogged down in Kafkaesque political cases.”

In this country
14 May - Zimbabwe
Three journalists arrested, held overnight then freed on bail
21 April - Zimbabwe
Freelance photojournalist released on bail
3 March - Zimbabwe
Woman journalist freed after being held for three months
18 February - Zimbabwe
Reporters Without Borders makes three recommendations in open letter to Morgan Tsvangirai
9 January - Zimbabwe
Regional body asked to intercede on behalf of imprisoned woman journalist

in the annual report
Zimbabwe - Annual Report 2008
Zimbabwe - Annual Report 2007
Zimbabwe - Annual report 2006

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africa archives

18 March 2009 - Democratic Republic of Congo
“Bukavu, murder city”: investigation report into murders of journalists in the capital of Sud-Kivu
21 May 2008 - Eritrea
Naizghi Kiflu, the dictatorship’s eminence grise
6 March 2008 - Kenya
"How far to go ?" Kenya’s media caught in the turmoil of a failed election

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