Daily News' photographer arrested

HARARE - Daily News photographer Watson Ofumeli, who joined the paper last week, was yesterday briefly arrested by police from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Law and Order Section for taking pictures during a raid at a local NGO.

Ofumeli was hauled into a police truck packed with police detectives and five Counselling Services Unit (CSU) staffers just outside the NGO’s offices in Harare and taken to Harare Central Police Station.

 He was covering the police raid.

Police raided the CSU searching for “offensive and subversive material”.

Ofumeli was later released without charge but only after forcing him to delete the pictures he had taken.
Associated Newspapers lawyer Alec Muchadehama condemned the arrest.

“We have always said the laws in Zimbabwe are not friendly for the practice of journalism or the free flow of information,” he said.

“Ofumeli’s arrest is evidence that the police’s heavy-handed behaviour in dealing with journalists going about their lawful duty is systematic and has not changed,” Muchadehama said.

The Daily News group editor, Stanley Gama described the arrest as another latest assault on press freedom in Zimbabwe.

“At the Daily News, we have now become used to such savagery tactics of intimidation, and we wonder when will this come to an end? Why are we always being targeted as the Daily News?

“The selective application of the law in Zimbabwe is appalling, we strongly condemn the arrest of our photojournalist and the subsequent deleting of his pictures by the police. Can someone please stop the harassment of the Daily News.” - Staff Writer

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