25 January 1999


Fears for newspaper director high

Incident details

Clive Wilson



**Updates IFEX alerts of 25 January, 22 January, 21 January, 18 January, 15
January and 13 January 1999**

(GHM/IFEX) - The following is 22 January 1999 news release issued by the
international secretariat of Amnesty International by way of GHM:


Fears for newspaper director high

Amnesty International issued today a worldwide alert expressing concern for
the safety of Zimbabwean newspaper director/publisher Clive Wilson, after
his arrest without charge earlier in the day.

"Clive Wilson's arrest comes one day after the release of two journalists
who were viciously tortured by military police, with the apparent collusion
of the civilian police," Amnesty International said. "There's a clear
possibility that he may also be tortured like the other two."

Clive Wilson, whom Amnesty International considers to be a prisoner of
conscience, is managing director of The Standard newspaper. Two Criminal
Investigations Division (CID) officers took him into custody in connection
with a story printed in The Standard on 10 January which alleged that a coup
plot had been foiled in the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA), and that 23
soldiers and officers had been arrested.

Editor Mark Chavunduka was illegally arrested and detained by the ZNA
military police on 12 January 1999. Both Mark Chavunduka and journalist Ray
Choto, who turned himself into civilian police custody on 19 January, were
then handed over to the military interrogators, who beat them with fists,
wooden planks and rubbers sticks, tortured them with electric shocks to the
body and genitals, and wrapped their heads in plastic bags while submerging
them in water tanks. The torturers also threatened the men's lives and their
families. Both men were considered prisoners of conscience by Amnesty

Amnesty International is alarmed at reports that the civilian police are now
seeking to re-arrest Mark Chavunduka and Ray Choto. If rearrested, Amnesty
International believes there is a strong possibility that the two men may be
tortured or ill-treated again.

Background Information

Editor Mark Chavunduka was illegally detained incommunicado at Cranborne
military barracks in Harare for six days, in defiance of a High Court
judgement on 14 January ordering Minister of Defence Moven Mahachi and Major
Mhonda of the ZNA to release him.

During his interrogation by military police and agents of Zimbabwe's secret
police, the Central Intelligence Organization (CIO), Chavunduka said his
interrogators indicated that Clive Wilson and other senior staff at the
newspaper group would be arrested as well.

After being charged with "publishing a false story capable of causing alarm
and despondency" under Section 50 of the draconian Law and Order Maintenance
Act, on 21 January both men were taken to Magistrates Court, where they were
released on $10,000 (US$250) bail.

Amnesty International, International Secretariat, 1 Easton Street,
WC1X 8DJ, London, United Kingdom


Greek Helsinki Monitor
PO Box 60820
GR-15304 Glyka Nera
panayote (@) greekhelsinki.gr
Phone: +30 2103472259
Fax: +30 2106018760

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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