ZIMBABWE: London-based paper’s top reporter acquitted


September 4, 2007Posted September 17, 2007 Original Alert: April 2, 2007

Gift Phiri, The ZimbabweanLGL

A court in the capital Harare acquitted Phiri, a top reporter of the London-based weekly The Zimbabwean, of charges of practicing journalism without accreditation under Zimbabwe’s draconian Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, according to news reports. The charges carry a prison term of up to two years.

Phiri had been free on bail of 200,000 Zimbabwean dollars (US$820) after his hospitalization for injuries from beatings during four days of police custody in April, according to CPJ research.

The ruling followed an earlier verdict clearing Phiri of a separate charge of “publishing falsehoods” under a repealed section of the same law in connection with stories critical of the government, according to news reports.