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AG withdraws charges against Standard journalists
MISA-Zimbabwe
September 01, 2011

The Attorney-General (AG)'s Office has reportedly withdrawn part of the criminal charges against Standard reporter Patience Nyangove and editor Nevanji Madanhire. The three are being jointly charged with Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) human resources manager, Loud Ramakgapola. AMH are publishers of the Standard, Zimbabwe Independent and Newsday. According to the Newsday's edition of 1 September 2011, their lawyer Linda Cook on 31 August 2011 submitted before Harare magistrate Donald Ndirowei that the AG's Office had decided not to proceed with the charges under Section 31(a) (iii) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act. The section criminalises criminalises the" publishing or communication of false statements prejudicial to the State and statements undermining public confidence in a law enforcement agency, the Prison Service or the Defence Forces of Zimbabwe.

The State, however, is said to be proceeding with the charge of criminal defamation.

Meanwhile, Madanhire's reporting conditions were also set aside. Cook also applied for the release of Nyangove's cellphone on the next date of their appearance in court on 14 September 2011 if the matter fails to proceed to trial.

Background

The trio who are also being charged with criminal defamation as defined under Section 96 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, were arrested following the publication of a story carried in the weekly Standard issue of June 26 - July 2, titled: MDC-T fears for missing Timba. The story alleged that the Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Jameson Timba had been arrested by police officers who included "the notorious Chrispen Makedenge" when the latter was allegedly not involved in the arrest.

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