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SABC reporters arrested, released without charge

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POLICE in Harare yesterday arrested and briefly detained two local correspondents of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) for allegedly shooting video footage of an open space where the MDC-T held its “cross-over” rally 48 hours before the July 31 polls.

Dumisani Sibanda

Harare lawyer Mupanga Bhatasara confirmed the incident and identified the journalists as Shingi Nyoka and cameraman Ephert Musekiwa.

He said the scribes were initially detained at Milton Park and transferred to Harare Central Police Station’s Law and Order Section before their release almost two-and-a-half hours later.

“They were released after the police at Harare Central Police Station correctly observed that   the area the SABC correspondents were filming was not a protected area,” Bhatasara said.

“They are correspondents with the appropriate   media accreditation and what happened to some extent is a form of harassment and an unwarranted inconvenience to people lawfully doing their work.”

National police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba also confirmed the incident, adding the pair had since been released without charge.

Heavily-armed police officers have for the past two weeks maintained a vigil at the site — now commonly referred to as “Freedom Square”— after MDC-T supporters threatened wildcat demonstrations following their party’s defeat.

Anti-riot police trucks mounted with water cannons have remained stationed at the site.

The arrests come as police have reportedly launched a manhunt for two British journalists Jerome Starkey and Jan Raath in connection with a  story implying that Zimbabwe had signed a secret deal to export uranium to Iran for the manufacture of nuclear weapons.

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