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Detained freelance journalist, allegedly facing charges for "malicious damage to property," requires medical attention

(MISA/IFEX) - Detained freelance journalist Frank Chikowore's lawyer, Harrison Nkomo, has filed an urgent High Court application compelling the police to take Chikowore to hospital as he is complaining of abdominal and chest pains.

The application also compelled the police to have Chikowore appear before a Magistrate on 17 April 2008, as the 48-hour period within which a person arrested by the police should appear before a Magistrate court, as stipulated under Zimbabwean laws, has elapsed.

Chikowore, who was gathering news on the fateful day, was arrested on 15 April together with supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). He and the MDC supporters are said to be facing charges of malicious damage to property for allegedly torching a bus belonging to Nyamwenda Bus Company in Warren Park.

According to Chikowore's lawyer, who was hired by MISA-Zimbabwe under its Media Defence Fund (MDF), the police initially wanted to charge Chikowore under the draconian Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) but later discovered that he is an accredited journalist and that there was no offensive material on his laptop.

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