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"Standard" journalist released

(MISA/IFEX) - Nqobani Ndlovu, a reporter with the privately owned "Standard" weekly newspaper, was finally released from Khami remand prison on the afternoon of 26 November 2010 in compliance with an order for his immediate release by High Court judge Justice Nicholas Matonsi.

An appeal by the State for Ndlovu's continued detention was dismissed by Justice Matonsi on 25 November after he ruled that it was "entirely without merit". Ndlovu was arrested on 17 November.

MISA-Zimbabwe Chairperson Loughty Dube said Ndlovu's release was a positive and welcome development, but nonetheless decried the delay in releasing him as he spent another night in a remand prison despite the High Court decision.

Alpha Media Holdings CEO Raphael Khumalo said: "I am delighted that at long last the young man has been released. It (the arrest) should never have happened. Our lawyers are going to challenge all sections used to deny Ndlovu his freedom, particularly Section 121 (of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act)".


The appeal by the State was instituted following the granting of US$100 bail by Bulawayo Magistrate Sibongile Msipa on 22 November. The State in turn invoked Section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act (CPEA), which effectively quashes bail granted pending the hearing of an appeal.

Ndhlovu was initially charged with contravening Section 96 (1) (a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act. However, he now faces an additional charge under Section 31 of the same Act.

The charges arose from a story written by Ndlovu in the "Standard" edition of 14 November alleging that police promotional examinations were being scrapped to facilitate the absorption of war veterans and retired police officers in the police force ahead of the 2011 elections.
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