Sunday Mail editor, reporters arrested over 'falsehoods'

By: 
Staff Reproter
Police spokesperson Charity Charamba
HARARE police have arrested Sunday Mail editor Mabasa Sasa, investigations editor Brian Chitemba and reporter Tinashe Farawo, accusing them of publishing falsehoods.
 
This follows publication of a story in the weekly’s latest edition claiming that a syndicate comprising police officers, Parks and Wildlife Management Authority rangers and Asians was behind the latest elephant killings in Hwange National Park.
 
The three were detained at Harare Central Police Station on Monday night and police were still to record their warned and cautioned statements.
 
Their lawyer James Muzangaza of Muzangaza, Mandaza and Tomana said his clients were arrested for allegedly publishing falsehoods.
 
Police claim that they have inquired at all police stations and found no reports of police investigating their members for alleged involvement in poaching activities.
 
“Initially when I met the officers at Zimpapers (Herald House) they said they wanted the journalists’ cooperation," said the attorney.
 
“In the afternoon I got the shocking news that they were arrested for refusing to disclose the source of their story. Attempts to have a warned and cautioned statement recorded were futile as the investigating officer said he was in Ruwa and could not record statements after 4.30 pm.”
 
 Zimbabwe Union of Journalists secretary general Foster Dongozi condemned the arrests.
 
He said: "Why are they arresting the messengers? Why not conduct investigations to see which officials are involved?
 
“The issue of elephant poaching is of national importance. It was their right as journalists to expose the scandal. We condemn these acts of harassment.
 
"Police should not be seen anywhere near the newsroom. They should conduct their own internal investigations,” he said.
 

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