MISA-Zimbabwe Alert: photojournalist arrested

Photojournalist Aaron Ufumeli was on 17 July 2012 arrested while covering a demonstration organised by the women’s movement at the Africa Unity Square in Harare.

Ufumeli who works for the privately owned NewsDay, was arrested around 9:30 am by an unidentified police officer while taking pictures of appeared to be a confrontation between a police officer and one of the demonstrators.

Members of the women’s movement in the country were demonstrating against the arrest of women for “loitering and practising prostitution” after 9pm. This follows incidents of arrests of women by the police, particularly in Harare’s Central Business District.

Police reportedly confiscated Ufumeli’s camera for about twenty minutes insisting that the photographs that he had taken be deleted.

Ufumeli had to call Harare police spokesperson inspector James Sabau to come and clarify the issue with the police. He was only released after Sabau had liaised with the arresting details. His camera was only returned to him around 10 am after he had deleted the photographs in question at the police’s insistence.

No charges were preferred against him.

MISA-Zimbabwe position

MISA-Zimbabwe condemns the police’s actions as unwarranted heavy handedness against journalists conducting their lawful professional duties. Such actions only serve to tarnish the image of Zimbabwe as an intolerant police state and should thus be condemned in the strongest terms possible.

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