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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Two Zimbabwe journalists arrested for Mugabe 'health scare' story

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Two journalists from the privately-owned NewsDay newspaper were on Friday arrested by police on charges on undermining or insulting President Robert Mugabe.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) communications officer Kumbirai Mafunda confirmed the arrest, in a Facebook post, of the two journalists together with company legal assistant.

"In Harare, ZLHR lawyer Obey Shava has been deployed to offer emergency legal services to NewsDay journalists Richard Chidza (Chidza Sachidza) and Wisdom Mdzungairi who is the newspaper’s Editor and Sifikile Thabete representing Alpha Media Holdings, publishers of the newspaper," Mafunda said.

"Chidza, Mudzungairi and Thabete have now been formally charged with undermining or insulting the President in contravention of Section 33 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act," He said.

Mafunda said police officers claim that the journalists insulted Mugabe after they published an article titled "Mugabe in fresh health scare" on March. 2, 2017 where they alleged that Mugabe is afflicted by prostate cancer.

The newspaper also confirmed the arrest in a report Friday, saying the three handed themselves at Harare Central Police Station where they were summoned to report to the Law and Order Department.

The trio was later released into the custody of their lawyer Friday.

The arrest came after Mugabe traveled to Singapore on Wednesday for a scheduled medical review, according to his spokesperson, George Charamba.

He is expected back in the country on Monday.
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