Community News Activist Denied Freedom

Kariba is a town located in northern Zimbabwe.

Matura was arrested on Monday, after a complaint was lodged by one Sam Mawuwa on allegations that a story published in the Kariba News newsletter about him was defamatory. He is, therefore, facing criminal defamation charges.

Magistrate Felix Chauromwe had granted Matura $100 bail before prosecutor, Unite Saizi, invoked the controversial Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act. The invoking of this section immediately suspends the operation of any court ruling pending the noting of an appeal by the Attorney General’s Office. The appeal has to be noted within seven days.

This effectively means that Matura will be in custody until October 19 before a bail hearing can be heard. Lawyer, Tapiwa Muchineripi, is representing him under the auspices of the Media Lawyers Network.

The Zimbabwe Chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Zimbabwe) has said recent arrests of journalists prove the criminalisation of journalism in Zimbabwe under the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act and vindicates their strident calls for the repealing of the law which infringes on media freedom.