Zimbabwe Court Grants Bail to New York Freelancer After 3 Weeks in Prison | Voice of America
HARARE, ZIMBABWE – Zimbabwean prison authorities released Jeffrey Moyo on Wednesday, the day after the Bulawayo Supreme Court released him on bail.
Police arrested the 37-year-old in May, alleging he helped two journalists from the US newspaper illegally enter Zimbabwe.
Moyo’s attorney Doug Coltart, a Zimbabwean human rights attorney, said Moyo should have been released a day early, but prison officials identified a problem with the release order.
Coltart spoke of Bulawayo via a messaging app and expressed his anger that his client was detained for an extra day.
“It is a typical tactic used to extend detainees’ detention after they have been given bail. It is for this reason that the legal team specifically asked to see the release warrant before leaving the Magistrate Court,” said Coltart. “This application was rejected. Late last night (Tuesday), when the prison officials again claimed that there was a mistake, the legal team moved to see the release order. This application was rejected again. ”
Government officials were not immediately available to comment on Moyo’s case.
Moyo was arrested on May 26, along with an official from the Zimbabwean Media Commission, Thabang Manhika, for allegedly handling fake accreditations for two South African Times journalists who entered Zimbabwe last month and have since been deported.
Western diplomats and international freedom of the press groups expressed concerns about the arrests.
A lower court had denied Moyo and Manhika bail because they posed a national security threat for helping US journalists interview Zimbabweans without government permission.
“The state papers on appeal essentially admit that the reasons they put forward for denying (Moyo’s) bail to the district court were unfounded and frivolous and that they essentially do not mind and that he posed no threat to the national Security is as they claimed, ”said Coltart.
The government denies allegations that Zimbabwe disregards media freedom.
On social media, the Secretary of the Ministry of Information said Ndabaningi Mangwana, Moyo and Manhika were arrested for violating immigration laws.
Tabani Moyo, director of the Media Institute of Southern Africa, is seen in Harare on June 16, 2021. (Columbus Mavhunga / VOA)
Tabani Moyo of the Media Institute of Southern Africa – who is not related to Jeffrey Moyo – said he welcomed the release of Jeffrey Moyo and was looking forward to the trial.
“The Jeffrey Moyo trial is a process of fairness in that you are only guilty if proven,” he said. “Fairness is a key element in the conduct of our judicial services. So we say it is fairness in court that he is released on bail. It is the first step in that process. And we hope that it will be fair by the end of the case remains.” be at the center of the process, as it should be for any Zimbabwean. “
No court dates have been set for Manhika and Moyo. The two men face up to ten years imprisonment if convicted.