15 January 1999


Journalist still detained

Incident details

Mark Chavunduka



(IPI/IFEX) - IPI is strongly condemning the continuing detention of Mark
Chavunduka, editor of the weekly "Standard".

**Updates IFEX alerts of 13 January 1999**
Chavunduka, 34, was arrested by military police officers in Harare on 12
January 1999 and is being detained at Cranborne military barracks in
connection with an article which the independent Sunday paper published
regarding an alleged coup attempt in December 1998 and the arrest of twenty
three soldiers, including seven officers. According to IPI, no charge has
been lodged against Chavunduka, he has been denied access to his lawyer and
family, and it is feared that he may be ill-treated or tortured while in

IPI is informed that the army allegedly ignored an order issued by the high
court on 14 January to release Chavunduka and that the "Standard" will seek
a contempt of court order against the ministry of defence.

Defence Minister Moven Mahachi has denied the coup story and threatened
stern action against the "Standard" for allegedly publishing lies. According
to the "Standard", military police visited the newspaper's offices on 12
January demanding to see a second senior journalist on the paper, Ray Choto.

Recommended Action

Send appeals to the President:

  • expressing the opinion that Chavunduka's arrest and detention violate
    Zimbabwe's international legal obligations with regard to the right to
    freedom of expression under Article 19 of the International Covenant on
    Civil and Political Rights and Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and
    Peoples' Rights
  • urging him to ensure that he is released immediately and unconditionally

    Appeals To

    His Excellency President Robert Mugabe
    Office of the President
    Causeway, Harare
    Fax: +263 4 728799 / 708820 / 734644

    Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

  • Source

    International Press Institute
    Spiegelgasse 2
    1010 Vienna
    ipi (@) freemedia.at
    Fax:+43 1 5129014

    More on this case

    "Standard" journalists' trial date set 15 March 2000 Tortured journalists' trial deferred 7 January 2000 Court clears minister of contempt charges; spares newspaper costs 15 March 1999 Court rules for journalists to seek medical treatment, state appeals 24 February 1999 IFJ condemns Zimbabwe for arrests and torture 12 February 1999 WAN condemns Zimbabwe press crackdown 11 February 1999 Medical report details torture of two journalists 10 February 1999 Human Rights Watch protests new crackdown on Zimbabwe's independent media 10 February 1999 RSF protests deteriorating press freedom situation 9 February 1999 Three more journalists arrested 8 February 1999 ARTICLE 19 to support journalists' legal bid 3 February 1999 Newspaper director released unconditionally; government promises to crack down on bad press against military 27 January 1999 Police blockade peaceful protest 27 January 1999 Newspaper's managing editor appears in court 27 January 1999 NDIMA protests detention of journalist 25 January 1999 Fears for newspaper director high 25 January 1999 Journalists sent for full medical check-up amid disclosure of torture ordeal; further attacks on journalists; protest held in Namibia 22 January 1999 Journalists released on bail 21 January 1999 Detained journalists appear in court 21 January 1999 MISA concerned for health and well-being of detained journalists 21 January 1999 Journalists tortured while in custody 21 January 1999 WAN protests continued illegal detention of journalist 21 January 1999 Zimbabwean defence ministry continues to detain journalist 18 January 1999 Journalist still detained 15 January 1999 WAN condemns Zimbabwe press crackdown 11 February 1998 WAN condemns Zimbabwe press crackdown 11 February 1998 WAN condemns Zimbabwe press crackdown 11 February 1998 WAN condemns Zimbabwe press crackdown 11 February 1998 Editor arrested 13 January 1999
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