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Zimbabwe police free detained editors

  • Story Highlights
  • Editors held over article that named police, security agents, lawyer says
  • Article alleged agents linked to abduction of rights activists last year
  • Activists were involved with Morgan Tsvangirai's political party
  • President Robert Mugabe's government has arrested foreign, local journalists
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HARARE, Zimbabwe (CNN) -- Two Zimbabwe journalists charged with publishing articles that could hurt the credibility of law-enforcement agencies were free on bail Tuesday.

Vincent Kahiya, editor of the Zimbabwe Independent, a weekly newspaper, and Constantine Chimakure, its news editor, were arrested Monday for "publishing an article materially false and meant to generate public hostility toward the police force," government officials said.

The article named police and security agents allegedly involved in the abduction of rights activists from Prime Minister Morgan Tvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change party last year, according to the paper's lawyer, Innocent Chagonda.

The two journalists declined to talk to the media as they left the court. Each was released on U.S. $200 bail after appearing before a magistrate in Harare, the capital.

Chagonda decried the arrest and urged the government to "warm up to the issue of media freedom."

The arrests came on the heels of the All-Stakeholders' Media Summit organized by the government -- and boycotted by journalists protesting the re-jailing of freelance journalist Andrison Manyere, who faces charges of trying to topple President Robert Mugabe. He was released for four days and re-arrested last week.

Mugabe's government has arrested a number of foreign and local journalists, and closed many privately owned newspapers and radio stations. Western governments and donors have said they will not pour money into Zimbabwe's battered economic recovery unless political reforms, such as a free press, are implemented.

Participants in the media summit agreed that repressive laws in Zimbabwe should be repealed.

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