27 January 1999


Newspaper's managing editor appears in court

Incident details

Clive Wilson


legal action

(MISA/IFEX) - The managing editor of the "Standard" newspaper, Clive Wilson,
appeared in the Magistrate's Court in Harare on 25 January 1999. His hearing
was set for 11 a.m. (local time).

**Updates IFEX alerts of 25 January, 22 January, 21 January, 18
January, 15
January and 13 January 1999**
Wilson was arrested on 22 January by members of the police's Criminal
Investigation Department and held for the whole weekend.

It is believed Wilson was to be charged along with two other colleagues from
the "Standard" under Section 50 of the Law and Order Maintenance Act of
1960, which makes it unlawful to publish false reports that are "likely to
cause alarm, fear or despondency to the public, or section thereof." The
offence carries with it a maximum prison sentence of seven years. It is
further understood that Wilson was to put in a plea for bail during his

Background Information

Wilson was arrested on 22 January, less than a day after two other
journalists, deputy editor Mark Chavunduka and reporter Ray Choto, were
released on bail.

Chavunduka was detained by the Zimbabwean military on 12 January, two days
after the "Standard" published a story alleging that about twenty three
soldiers had been detained for attempting to overthrow the government of
Robert Mugabe.

On 14 January, the Zimbabwean High Court ordered the government to release
Chavunduka, arguing that his detention was unlawful. The government
(military) however refused to abide by the court order saying civilian
courts have no jurisdiction over military camps where Chavunduka was being
held. A second order was issued by the High Court, demanding that the
Minister of Defence release Chavunduka by 10 p.m. (local time) on 18
January. Again, the military defied this and instead pretended it would be
handing Chavunduka over to the police to be charged under a civil process.

Choto was arrested by police on 19 January, but later handed over to
military interrogators.

On 21 January, shortly after the two journalists had been released on bail,
they recounted how they had been tortured at the hands of the military. Both
men were beaten all over their bodies with fists, wooden planks and rubber
sticks, particularly on the soles of their feet, and given electric shocks
all over the body, including the genitals. They were also subjected to the
"submarine", where their heads are wrapped in plastic bags and then
submerged in a water tank until they suffocate.

At the time of Wilson's arrest on Friday, 22 January, grave concern was
expressed for his well-being, along with fears that he might be handed over
for military interrogation and suffer a fate similar to that of Chavunduka
and Choto.


Media Institute of Southern Africa
21 Johann Albrecht Street
Private Bag 13386
misaalerts (@) gmail.com
Fax:+264 61 248016

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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