Cops arrest journo, worshippers

Journalist Fazila Mohammed was on Sunday arrested at the Anglican Cathedral while covering the savage beating of parishioners by riot police.

Mohammed, a correspondent for Voice of America’s Studio 7, was arrested together with five Anglican parishioners. The police confiscated her tape recorder and headphones, before dragging her to the Harare Central Police Headquarters where she has been charged with practising journalism without official accreditation.

Press freedom group, Zimbabwe Journalists for Human Rights, this week roundly condemned the high-handedness of the state police against worshippers, and for the assault of a journalist carrying out her professional duties.

“Failure to produce a MIC accreditation card does not in anyway warrant harassment or threats,” ZJHR secretary-general Precious Shumba said. “This display of unnecessary bravado by the police demonstrates the lengths at which they will go to deny Zimbabweans their right to worship.”

Among the five parishioners arrested was a member of the Vabvuwi Guild, a men’s fellowship in the Anglican Church, Evison Bhonzo, and the Churchwarden for the Cathedral, only identified as Mrs Chibaya and three others whose identities could not be immediately confirmed.

The parishioners were not charged and returned to continue with the church service, outside the cathedral.

Riot police descended on the parishioners after a mob loyal to ousted Harare Bishop Nolbert Kunonga barred worshippers from entering the church for the second week in a row.

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