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Defamation charges against journalist dropped for lack of evidence

(MISA/IFEX) - Golden Maunganidze, the editor of the privately owned weekly, "The Masvingo Mirror", accused of defaming ZANU PF Masvingo provincial chairman Lovemore Matuke, was freed by the courts after the state declined to prosecute him on 24 February 2011.

The state said there was no evidence warranting prosecution.

Maunganidze was arrested on 23 February in the southern town of Masvingo on allegations of criminally defaming Matuke. The police questioned and detained Maunganidze for about two hours before releasing him. This followed publication of an article in the weekly's "Hot on the Heels" column on 18 February allegedly linking the politician to a sex scandal.

Although the article did not mention any names the police decided to charge him with criminal defamation.

The state found no evidence to support Matuke's claims.

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