Deportation order for U.S. journalist suspended[Read the July, 2002, Special Report on Zimbabwe, “On a Rampage.”]

New York, July 17, 2002—Zimbabwe’s High Court has suspended government orders to deport Andrew Meldrum, a U.S. citizen and the Zimbabwe correspondent for the British Guardian newspaper, and referred the case to the Supreme Court.

Meldrum was served with two deportation orders on July 15, just minutes after being acquitted of “publishing false information” and “abusing journalistic privileges” for a Guardian article about a story in Zimbabwe’s independent Daily News. The Daily News story, which the paper later retracted, alleged that young members of the ruling ZANU-PF party had beheaded an opposition supporter.  [see Special Report].

The July 15 deportation orders gave Meldrum 24 hours to leave the country.

Today’s ruling means that Meldrum can remain in Zimbabwe until the Supreme Court rules on the case. No date has been set for the court’s hearing.

“We welcome today’s High Court ruling, which at least temporarily postpones the government’s absurd attempt to expel this veteran journalist,” said CPJ executive director Ann Cooper. “We hope that Meldrum will be able to remain in Zimbabwe and carry out his professional work.”

Meanwhile, on Monday, July 22, Meldrum’s colleagues at the Daily News, reporter Lloyd Mudiwa, editor-in-chief Geoff Nyarota, and staff writer Collin Chiwanza, will face trial on the same charges of which Meldrum was acquitted earlier this week.