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Published On: Tue, Oct 3rd, 2017

Zimbabwe arrests NewsDay journalist over story on first lady’s underwear donation

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Zimbabwean First Lady Grace Mugabe addresses party supporters in Gweru, Zimbabwe, on September 1. Police detained a journalist, Kenneth Nyangani, for reporting that Mugabe allegedly donated used underwear and women’s nightgowns to ruling party supporters. (AP/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

New York, October 3, 2017–The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on Zimbabwean authorities to immediately release NewsDay journalist Kenneth Nyangani and drop all charges against him. Nyangani was arrested yesterdayand charged with criminal nuisance for reporting that First Lady Grace Mugabe had donated used underwear to supporters of the country’s ruling ZANU-PF party, his lawyer, Passmore Nyakureba, told CPJ.

Police first indicated they would charge the journalist with criminal defamation, which has been declared unconstitutional by the country’s court, Nyakureba was quoted as saying by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. Nyangani will appear in court tomorrow.

“Zimbabwean authorities should stop harassing Kenneth Nyangani and release him immediately without charge,” said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal. “The fact that police had to fish for a new charge because their first accusation was unconstitutional shows that this arrest is aimed squarely at intimidating Zimbabwean journalists into self-censorship.”

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