South African Freelance Photojournalist Arrested In Zim

Hammond who was arrested together with Wallace Mupfuwa the coordinator of the Freedom for The Disabled Trust and handed over to officers from Mutare Central’s Law and Order section.

The duo, represented by Mutare lawyer Passmore Nyakureba, appeared in court on Monday facing charges of criminal nuisance and was fined US$200 each by Mutare Magistrate Enia Ndiraya before being released.

Hammond and Mupfumwa had initially been accused of unlawfully practising journalism by taking pictures without accreditation after they were found near Kondozi Farm now owned by Manicaland Governor Christopher Mushowe.

Nyakureba told Radio VOP that the duo had initially been charged of trespassing for allegedly entering a protected area but the charge was changed to criminal nuisance.

“After my clients pleaded guilty to the less charge of criminal nuisance they were both fined US$200 each failure of which they will be imprisoned for six months. Hammond has since paid his fine and Mupfumwa has been given up to March 30 to pay fine,” said Nyakureba soon after the court appearance.

Hammond who is a South African had his passport stolen on Saturday 25 February at Sakubva Stadium where he attended President Robert Mugabe’s birthday commemorations.

Hammond was researching on a number of issues including the environmental degradation caused by illegal gold panners, plight of displaced farm workers and victims of operation Murambatsvina in Manicaland while Wallace Mupfumwa was assisting. They were reportedly arrested by the farm security guards manning Kondozi farm near Odzi and handed over to the police at Odzi.