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Two journalists arrested, one beaten by police

(MISA/IFEX) - Journalist Maxwell Ng'ambi was arrested by police on suspicion that he intended to interview a former speaker of parliament and cabinet minister, Sam Mpasu, from prison without permission to do so.

Mpasu was convicted by a magistrate's court on 8 April 2008 on three charges of abuse of office involving procurement of education materials in 1994 and was sentenced to six years' imprisonment.

In a related development, the police also detained another journalist, Chinyeke Tembo, who went to enquire about the arrest of his colleague.

Tembo told MISA Malawi that he was beaten by the police and detained for complimenting the beauty of a policewoman. Malawi laws provide for indecent assault, which include gestures toward women.

When MISA Malawi visited the journalists at the police station on the afternoon of 17 April, the two had not been charged. Police Public Relations Officer Willie Mwaluka could not provide details on their cases.

The arrest of the two brings to five the total number of journalists who have been arrested in 2008.

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