(MISA/IFEX) - Nevanji Madanhire and Walter Marwizi, the editor and deputy editor of "The Standard" weekly newspaper, are facing arrest after police visited their offices in Harare looking for them.
Madanhire is wanted in connection with a story written by journalist Nqobani Ndlovu on the postponement of police promotional examinations.
According to the newspaper's stablemate, "Newsday", Detective Assistant Inspector Murira visited the Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) offices at 9:00 a.m. on 30 November 2010, looking for Madanhire, who was not in the office at the time. AMH publishes "Newsday", "The Standard" and "The Zimbabwe Independent".
The police reportedly insisted that he hand himself over to the Harare Central Police Station's Law and Order Section. It could not be immediately ascertained why they were also looking for Marwizi. On 28 November, police visited Marwizi's home in the Harare suburb of Arcadia. They made another visit at 5:00 a.m. on 29 November.
Ndlovu was arrested on 17 November and released nine days later from the Khami Remand Prison on the outskirts of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city.
Initially he was to be 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.
Section 96 relates to criminal defamation and conviction can result in two years' imprisonment or a fine. Section 31 pertains to the publishing or communication of false statements prejudicial to the state, with a maximum 20-year prison term or the option of a fine.
Zimbabwean journalists and representative media organisations on 26 November petitioned Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, expressing grave concern over the increase in the number of cases involving the arrests and harassment of journalists.
Click on the following link to read the relevant criminal code sections:
Sections_31_and_96_criminal_code.doc (37 KB)