Sat. Jan 22nd, 2022

Jeffrey Moyo spent three weeks in jail last year on charges of obtaining false accreditation documents.

A freelance journalist working for the New York Times will appear in Zimbabwe court on Wednesday, his lawyer and the newspaper said, in a case that critics say illustrates the authoritarian nature of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.

Thirty-seven-year-old Jeffrey Moyo spent three weeks in jail last year accused him of obtaining false accreditation documents for two of the American newspaper’s journalists on a visit.

The New York Times said the charges were unfounded and that a Zimbabwean Media Commission official had issued him documents for Christina Goldbaum and Joao Silva. They were suspended.

“We are deeply upset about the prosecution of Jeffrey Moyo, who was apparently designed to cool press freedom in Zimbabwe. “Jeffrey is a highly respected journalist with many years of reporting experience in Zimbabwe,” said Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times. said in a statement, reported by the Times.

Moyo told Reuters news agency that “it was a nasty experience sleeping on the concrete floor and having no contact with my family.”

“It was terrible, but I’m optimistic that things will go well.”

Officials were not immediately available to comment on the trial, which will take place at a court in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city. But last year, a spokesman for Moyo accused him of paying bribes to violate immigration laws.

The Mnangagwa government, which replaced long-serving leader Robert Mugabe in a coup in 2017, has difficult relations with non-state media. Another prominent reporter, Hopewell Chin’ono, who is critical of the government, has been arrested three times.

Moyo’s lawyer Doug Coltart told Reuters the state had a “very weak case” against his client.

“Jeffrey believed he was dealing with a bona fide official of the Zimbabwe Media Commission,” Coltart said.

Moyo also worked for the Thomson Reuters Foundation charity.

Reporters Without Borders ranked Zimbabwe 130th out of 180 countries in its World Press Freedom Index in 2021.

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