SA journos deported at Zim border

SA journos deported at Zim border

Two South African journalists were refused entry into Zimbabwe at the Beit Bridge border post on Friday afternoon.

Jean Jacques Cornish and Sheldon Morais  from radio 702’s Eyewitness News were detained and questioned but were released after a couple of hours. Their passports and other personal belongings which had been confiscated were later returned.Meanwhile, a  New York Times journalist and a British freelancer who were detained on thursday night spent a second night in a police cell after the Mugabe regime overruled the attorney general’s decision to set them free.

Barry Bearak was initially arrested on a charge of working as a journalist without accreditation, but when the police realized that the press law had been ammended, they formulated a new charge – that of  “falsely presenting himself as a journalist”, according to his lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa.In another development, two South Africans who were arrested in Harare on 27 March on charges of practising journalism without accrediation were re-arrested after a Harare Magistrate had ruled they could not be charged for practising journalism as they were engineers.Sipho Moses Maseko and Abdulla Ismail Gaibee were  being charged under the repressive Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).

Their trial had been postponed several times last week after the prosecutor who is handling the matter, Obbie Mubahwana, failed to make it to the court on time. The excuse that was given is that he was working on anther case is Bindura.Misa-Zimbabwe legal officer Wilbert Mandinde, who is representing the two engineers, said the two were now facing charges of contravening the Public Order and Security Act (POSA).

“The magistrate has questioned the prosecutor who is handling the matter why they were charging engineers for practicing journalism without accreditation. And this is why they now want to charge them under POSA,” said Mandinde.As the two walked out of the courtroom, detectives from the Criminal Investigation Department’s Law and Order Section rearrested them and they were taken to Harare Central Police Station.

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