Stefaans Brümmer

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The censored November issue of Mail & Guardian. (CPJ)

Johannesburg, July 30, 2012--South African authorities should immediately drop a criminal investigation against three newspaper journalists who have sought to report details on a multi-billion-dollar arms scandal, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Mail & Guardian

New York, November 21, 2011--The spokesman for South African President Jacob Zuma filed a criminal complaint on Saturday against two journalists investigating his alleged role in a $US5 billion international arms deal that became embroiled in scandal, according to news reports.

Weekly investigative paper Mail & Guardian sought comment last week from presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj, also a member of the ruling African National Congress, regarding information leaked from a confidential 2004 police deposition about his role in an arms deal, editor Nic Dawes told the local press. Maharaj asked the journalists how they obtained the information and referred the inquiry to his lawyers, BDK Attorneys, according to news reports. The lawyers threatened the newspaper with criminal prosecution under a 1998 law punishing unauthorized disclosure of a suspect's testimony in an investigation with a prison term of up to 15 years, news reports said.

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