Cameraman assaulted filming march

September 13, 2006
Posted: September 22, 2006

Michael Saburi, Reuters Television


Saburi, a freelance cameraman for Reuters TV, was assaulted by police officers and jailed for filming a banned trade union march in the capital Harare, according to the Media Institute of Southern Africa, and his lawyer.

Riot police shoved Saburi in a police truck with several leaders of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), despite his repeated protests and display of his press pass, according to the same sources.

Saburi was taken to the Matapi police station and stripped of his camera, according to lawyer Alec Muchedehana. The camera was later returned. Saburi was detained in a filthy cell with at least 25 others, according to a CPJ source.

On September 15, Saburi was brought before a Harare court and charged, along with 28 others, with “participating in a gathering with the intent to promote public violence, breaches of the peace or bigotry” under a repressive new law known as the Criminal Law [Codification and Reform] Act (Section 37 (1) (b) Chapter 9: 23). The charge could carry up to five years in prison or the payment of a large fine, according to his lawyer.

Saburi was freed on bail but the court ordered that he report to the police every Friday. It set a trial date of October 3.