Freelance Journalist Arrested At Harare Magistrates Court

Freelance journalist Kumbirai Mafunda was on Friday arrested by police while conducting his lawful duties at the Harare Magistrates Court.

Mafunda, who is the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) Communications Officer, was later freed without aa charge after the intervention of lawyers Tinashe Chinopfukutwa and Jeremiah Bamu.

Posting on Twitter, ZLHR Executive Director Roselyn Hanzi said the wanton detention, arbitrary arrest or harassment of journalists must be condemned. She wrote:

Very disturbed and appalled that [police] have arrested our [Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights] Communications Officer who is a registered free-lance journalist [Kumbirai Mafunda]. He was at Rottenrow court covering our cases.

Our Comms Focal [Mafunda] has since been released without charge after the intervention of [ZLHR] Tinashe Chinopfukutwa and Jeremiah Bamu.

The wanton detention, arbitrary arrest or harassment of journalists must be strongly condemned by everyone.

This is not the first time journalists have been harassed while conducting their duties during the coronavirus-induced lockdown.

In April last year, freelance journalist Terence Sipuma was reportedly assaulted by members of the police and the army in Harare while conducting his duties.

Sipuma was stopped by the security officers at the Kuwadzana roundabout in Harare while on his way to Chegutu to report on Zimbabwe’s 21-day COVID-19 lockdown.

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