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Three journalists charged with threatening state security over article questioning prime minister's citizenship

(MISA/IFEX) - On Monday 21 July 2008, the 3rd Section of the Maputo Judicial Court postponed the trial of three "Zambeze" journalists. "Zambeze" is one of the biggest independent weeklies in Mozambique. The three are accused of threatening state security, after they wrote an article in which they questioned whether the Prime Minister of Mozambique, Luísa Diogo, was Mozambican or Portuguese. The trial has been postponed to 12 August following a request by the Prosecution Authority, which said its representative in that case was not available.

The three journalists who authored the piece, namely Fernando Veloso (editor-in-chief), Luís Nhachote (sub-editor) and Alvarito de Carvalho (senior reporter), arrived in court with their lawyer, Eduardo Jorge. In the article, entitled "Is Luísa Diogo Mozambican?", "Zambeze" questioned the citizenship of the Prime Minister, quoting some documents.

Observers who talked to MISA-Mozambique questioned the speed at which the matter is being conducted, an unusual development in Mozambique's usually slow justice system. The story came out about two months ago. The authors of the article were called to the court to be charged 24 hours after the issue was published.

"Zambeze" newspaper was established in 2002 and is owned by a company called NovoMedia, SARL. Since 2003 the paper has become more critical of the government and the ruling party, Frelimo.

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