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Freelancer held illegally and badly beaten in custody
Reporters sans frontières / Reporters Without Borders
April 04, 2007

Reporters Without Borders today reiterated its call for the release of Gift Phiri, a contributor to the London-based weekly The Zimbabwean, who has been badly beaten since his arrest on 1 April and has not been taken before a judge.

His lawyer, Rangu Nyamurundira, said Phiri was initially accused of throwing Molotov cocktails. Then he was accused of working as a journalist without being accredited with the Media and Information Commission. Under Zimbabwean law, he should have been taken before a court within 48 hours.

Nyamurundira, who has asked the high court to order his release or to have him brought before a judge immediately, said Phiri now has difficulty sitting, standing or walking because of all the beatings he has received while in custody. Nyamurundira has not been allowed to see him since 2 April. The last time they spoke, Phiri said he had been forced to sign a confession that he had worked illegally as a journalist and reported false information.

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