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IFJ welcomes release of New Zealand photographer

(IFJ/IFEX) - May 11, 2012 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) welcomes the news that a New Zealand photographer was released from three weeks detention by police in Zimbabwe on May 10, 2012.

Robin Hammond had been working in Zimbabwe on a long-term project for the previous two years. On or around April 21, he was arrested in the south of the country while taking photos near the country's border with South Africa, in connection with a story on irregular migration between Zimbabwe and South Africa.

According to the Zimbabwe newspaper The Herald, Hammond was charged with 'breaching media regulations'.

After over two weeks in a jail in Beitbridge, in Matabeleland South Province, he was moved to the capital Harare on Saturday May 5. After intervention from his lawyers and the New Zealand Government, Hammond was finally released on May 10, 2012.

Hammond's employer, Panos Pictures, announced his release in a statement on their website.

"The IFJ welcomes the release of Robin Hammond, despite the questionable charges that led to his imprisonment," IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

"However, we maintain that his incarceration was unjustified and an attack on press freedom in Zimbabwe."

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