Zimbabwe journalists face new police charges

 

Zimbabwean police have brought new charges against four journalists from the country's only private newspaper, a day after a court had thrown out earlier ones, over a story alleging police involvement in farm lootings.

Daily News

"They have now been charged under Section 44 (2) (b) of the Law and Order Maintenance Act," their lawyer Lawrence Chibwe told Reuters.

"The new charge is publishing a subversive statement. At this juncture I have been promised that they will not be incarcerated or detained," he added.

Mr Chibwe later said the four had been released after making statements.

"The next logical step is to issue summons for purposes of a trial. But I don't really think it's a charge the police will try to pursue," he said.

But chief police spokesman, Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said the force would pursue its case.

"We are still making investigations and Nyarota will be going to court. I don't know when, but it should be very soon," Mr Bvudzijena told Reuters.

Nyarota, assistant editor Bill Saidi, news editor John Gambanga and reporter Sam Munyavi were accused on Wednesday of publishing "false news," but a court overturned the charge and ordered their release from police custody.

The Daily News, which has published allegations of corruption and mismanagement against President Robert Mugabe's 21-year-old government, reported on Tuesday that police vehicles were used by militants in the recent looting of white farms in northwest Zimbabwe.

The farm attacks were in retaliation for clashes between white farmers and self-styled war veterans occupying farmland in the Chinhoyi area, 70 miles northwest of the capital Harare.