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Zimbabwe Court Slaps New York Times Reporter With ZWL$200,000 Fine, 2-Year Suspended Sentence for Contravening Immigration Laws

Jeffrey Moyo and lawyer Doug Coltart
Jeffrey Moyo and lawyer Doug Coltart

New York Times correspondent, Jeffrey Moyo, has been slapped with a ZWL$200,000 ($615) fine and a two-year suspended sentence after he was found guilty Tuesday by a Zimbabwean court for breaching the country’s immigration laws.

According to the New York Times, Moyo’s conviction is a blow for press freedom in the southern African nation.

His attorneys, reports the New York Times, would appeal the verdict.

Reacting to Moyo’s conviction and subsequent sentencing, the Committee to Protect Journalist, condemned the ruling.

In a statement, CPJ’s Africa program coordinator, Angela Quintal, said, “Today’s conviction of journalist Jeffrey Moyo is a monumental travesty of justice and shows how far press freedom has deteriorated in Zimbabwe under President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

“The fact that Moyo’s prison sentence was suspended does not make it any less of a mockery of justice. Authorities must not contest Moyo’s appeal, and ensure that he and other journalists can work in Zimbabwe freely, especially with a general election scheduled for next year.”

Authorities arrested Moyo in the capital, Harare, alongside Zimbabwe Media Commission registrar Thabang Manhika on May 26, 2021, and accused them of contravening the Immigration Act by allegedly producing fake media accreditation cards for two foreign New York Times journalists, Christina Goldbaum and Joao Silva, who were deported after three days in the country.

Manhika was acquitted in a separate trial by the same magistrate on March 10. At least four other journalists face prosecution in Zimbabwe on unrelated charges.