New York, January 16, 2009--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the health of a Zimbabwean photojournalist who was denied bail today despite allegations that he was tortured while in police detention in the capital Harare.
Court Judge Tedious Karwi today urged the government to grant Anderson
Shadreck Manyere, a freelancer, and seven others, including former journalist and human rights
activist Jestina Mukoko, access to adequate medical
treatment, according to the Media
Institute of Southern Africa. Manyere and Mukoko did not have any visible
injuries but complained of pain from being beaten in police custody, according
to defense lawyer Alec Muchadehama who visited them in
Manyere faces charges of "banditry," a capital offense under Zimbabwe's criminal code, in connection with a spate of unsolved explosions at police stations in Harare. Police claimed they found 47 rounds of 9mm ammunition at Manyere's home, but his lawyer denied the claim. Muchadehama said officers searched Manyere's residence in the presence of his wife, and carted away a laptop computer, disks, and videocassettes, but no rounds of ammunition. Police failed to produce the rounds or charge Manyere with illegal possession of ammunition, he said.
alarmed by these reports of the physical abuse in detention of Anderson
Shadreck Manyere," said
went missing on December 13 in Norton, 19 miles (30 kilometers) west of
Muchadehama described the judge's arguments as "legally untenable," saying they were out of step with legal precedent. Manyere was expected to return to court on January 23, according to the Media Institute.
Journalists were relentlessly harassed during Zimbabwe's presidential elections in May and June 2008, CPJ found in its report "Bad to Worse in Zimbabwe."