Russian journalist fined

BULAWAYO - A Russian journalist who works for National Geographic Channel escaped jail after he was fined $600 for three different charges by Victoria Falls magistrate Sharon Rosemani.

Daniil Nikolev, 32, was fined $600 in lieu of spending a year-and-a-half in prison. He faced charges of making a false statement so as to enter Zimbabwe, possessing a radio station without a license and unlawful possession of a camouflage uniform.

Nikolev arrived at Victoria Falls border post on June 9 from Zambia and presented himself to the immigration officer as a geography teacher.

Police manning the border post routinely searched him and discovered that he was in possession of an international press card from Russian Geographical Society issued in his name.

It emerged that Nikolev was in fact accredited as a journalist not a geography teacher, contrary to what he had told the immigration officer.

Later on, Nikolev took out a satellite cell phone from his vehicle and started talking to unknown people in a foreign language.

According to the State, the satellite cell phone was supposed to be registered as a radio station.

The police continued searching Nikolev and found him in possession of one United Nations military jacket, a paramilitary overall, four military caps and one military trouser.

Police then arrested Nikolev for the three charges.

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