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Editor detained, questioned over satirical article

(MISA/IFEX) - 23 February 2011 - Golden Maunganidze, an editor with the privately owned "The Masvingo Mirror", was on 23 February 2011 arrested in the southern town of Masvingo on allegations of criminally defaming a senior Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) politician.

Police in Masvingo questioned and detained Maunganidze for about two hours before releasing him. They asked him to return to the police station on 24 February in the company of his lawyers and indicated that they were likely to charge him with criminal defamation.

Maunganidze was reportedly arrested at the instigation of the politician following publication of a satirical article written under the weekly's "Hot on the Heels" column. The article was published in the weekly's 18 February edition. MISA-Zimbabwe reliably understands that the article in question did not mention any names.

Maunganidze's arrest comes hard on the heels of the 21 February arrest in Mutare of freelance journalist Sydney Saize. Saize was released the same day after paying a fine of US$10 dollars for being a criminal nuisance.

Saize was arrested by members of the Zimbabwe Prison Service on 21 February while taking pictures of three armed robbers who allegedly tried to escape from lawful custody at Mutare Magistrates Court.

His lawyer, David Tandiri, said Saize was fined for taking the pictures without the permission of the prison officers.

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