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Zimbabwe6 May 2002

Botswanan journalist released

06.05.2002 - Botswanan journalist released

Moses Oguti, editor in chief of the Botswanan magazine Trans Kalahari, was released on 23 April. The journalist said he has been mistreated during his 45 days long incarceration. Authorities have given Oguti three days to leave the country.

04.03.2002 - A journalist from Botswana has been held in the east of the country for 16 days

In a letter sent to the Minister of Justice, Patrick Chinamasa, Reporters sans frontières (Reporters Without Borders - RSF), protested against the detention of a journalist with the Botswanan magazine Trans-Kalahari, who was arrested on 17 February 2002. "To our knowledge, this journalist was just doing his job, informing the public, and nothing justifies his prolonged detention without charges being filed," said Robert Ménard, General Secretary of RSF. "This case again shows, as presidential elections approach, how difficult it is for foreign journalists to work in Zimbabwe. Several journalists with international publications have been refused visas in recent days." RSF asked that the journalist be released.

According to information obtained by RSF, Moses Oguti, editor in chief of the magazine Trans-Kalahari, based in Botswana, was arrested on 17 February 2002. He was transferred to Mutare Prison (east of Harare), but was not informed of any charges filed against him. The authorities say he crossed the border between Mozambique and Zimbabwe illegally, through the mountains, after customs officers at Forbes (on the border with Mozambique) refused to let him enter Zimbabwe.

RSF pointed out that, on 24 January, Sahondra Randriamasimanana, journalist with the Malagasy magazine Capricorne, who had gone to Zimbabwe with friends on vacation, was stopped by police at the airport because his passport said he was a journalist-. In late January, a journalist with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Sally Sara, was told by the Zimbabwean Ministry of Information that she would not be granted a visa to cover the election. On 17 February, a Swedish journalist Gorrel Espelund, the Johannesburg correspondent for the newspaper Sydsvenska Dagbladet, also was refused accreditation. Other journalists, American, British and South African, have also been refused visas.

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