21 January 1999


WAN protests continued illegal detention of journalist

Incident details

Mark Chavhunduka



**Updates IFEX alerts of 18 January, 15 January and 13 January 1999**

(WAN/IFEX) - The following is a WAN press release:

WAN Protests Illegal Detention in Zimbabwe

The World Association of Newspapers (WAN) has asked President Robert Mugabe
of Zimbabwe to order the release of journalist Mark Chavhunduka, who was
illegally detained by the military after writing about an alleged military
plot to overthrow the government.

"The action taken against this journalist constitutes a clear breach not
only of Zimbabwean law, but also of numerous conventions ratified by
Zimbabwe, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
and the African Charter on Human and People's Rights," WAN said in a letter
to President Mugabe.

"We respectfully but strongly urge you to order the release of this
journalist, and to ensure that the military police refrain from intimidating
the press," said the letter, signed by WAN President Bengt Braun. "By doing
so, you will demonstrate your personal commitment to freedom of expression
in Zimbabwe."

Mr Chavhunduka, editor of The Standard newspaper, was arrested on 12 January
by Zimbabwe military police and -- despite a high court ruling to release
him -- was held in military barracks until he was handed over to police on
18 January.

The Paris-based WAN, the global association of the newspaper industry,
defends and promotes press freedom world-wide. It represents 15,000
newspapers and its membership includes 57 national newspaper publisher
associations, individual newspaper executives in 90 countries, 17 news
agencies and seven regional press groups


World Association of Newspapers
7 Rue Geoffroy St. Hilaire
75005 Paris
contact_us (@) wan.asso.fr
Fax:+33 14 742 4948

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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