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Al Jazeera news crew briefly detained

(MISA/IFEX) - On 20 October 2009, an Al-Jazeera news crew that reports from Zimbabwe was detained in a holding cell at the Munhumutapa Building, which houses the offices of the President and Cabinet in the capital, Harare.

The crew, comprised of reporter Haru Mutasa and camera operator Austin Gundani, was questioned by security officials as to why they were filming outside the Munhumutapa Building. The two journalists were detained in a holding cell and interrogated for about three hours. They were later transferred to the Harare Central Police station where they were released without charges.

The crew was outside the building to cover events as they unfolded in the wake of the Movement for Democratic Change's (MDC-T) decision not to attend Cabinet meetings which are normally held on Tuesdays. The MDC-T is led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. The Cabinet meeting was convened on the day in question despite the absence of ministers from MDC-T.

MISA-Zimbabwe could not immediately obtain comments from the news crews but has independently confirmed the incident.

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