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Zimbabwe Court Acquits British Journalists Over Media Charges

  • VOA News

A court in Zimbabwe has acquitted two British journalists of illegally reporting on last month's paramilitary elections.

A magistrate (Never Diza) in the northern town of Norton said today (Thursday) state prosecutors failed to prove that Sunday Telegraph correspondents Toby Harnden and Julian Simmonds were working in the country illegally. However, he said the men still face lesser charges of overstaying their tourist visas.

The two men were arrested March 31st -- election day -- while talking to voters in Norton. The government accused them of reporting on the election without accreditation -- an offense that carries a jail term of up to two years in prison.

The journalists pleaded not guilty to the charge. Their lawyer argued they were in Zimbabwe for a vacation.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.