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Detained MMPZ staff freed on bail; journalist questioned

(RSF/IFEX) - 20 December 2011 - Reporters Without Borders notes that three detained representatives of the Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ) - advocacy officers Fadzai December and Molly Chimhanda, and Gilbert Mabusa, a member of its Public Information Rights Forum Committee - were released on bail on 16 December in the southern city of Gwanda.

Arrested on 5 December, the three human rights activists were granted bail of US$50 each by Justice Nicholas Mathonsi of the High Court.

However, they still face charges of "participating in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, breaches of the peace or bigotry". They are also accused of undermining the authority of, or insulting, President Robert Mugabe.

They are due to appear in court again on 15 January.

In another case, freelance journalist Tapfuma Machakaire was taken in for questioning on 16 December in Bulawayo while he was covering a meeting of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.

He was reported to have been arrested for taking photographs while the police were dispersing the meeting. He was released several hours later without charge.

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