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Monday, 15 April, 2002, 17:55 GMT 18:55 UK
Zimbabwe journalist arrested
Bombed Daily News printing press
The Daily News printing press was bombed in 2001
The editor of Zimbabwe's only private daily newspaper has been arrested after publishing a story that last month's election results were falsified, his lawyer said.

Geoff Nyarota from The Daily News was charged with falsifying and fabricating information and released three hours later, said Lawrence Chibwe.

Geoff Nyarota
Nyarota has been arrested five times in three years
Days after his controversial re-election, President Robert Mugabe signed into law measures which greatly restricted the media.

Another journalist was detained on Monday afternoon, his editor said.

Dumisani Muleya from the Zimbabwe Independent was picked up in connection with a story published last Friday, said the paper's editor, Iden Wetherall.

Earlier on Monday, New Zealand became the latest country to slap a travel ban on Mr Mugabe and his associates in protest at the election, which Commonwealth observers said was held in a "climate of fear".

Jail threat

Mr Nyarota faces a maximum sentence of two years in prison or a fine of $1,800 if found guilty.

In the story, the Daily News accused the man in charge of announcing election results, Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede, of manipulating the count.

He denies the accusation.

Mr Nyarota denies the charge, his lawyer told Reuters news agency.

"The understanding so far is that the police will take the case to the courts very soon, but they have formally charged Mr Nyarota," said Mr Chibwe.

Mr Nyarota has been arrested several times since the Daily News was launched in 1999.

The paper's printing press and main office have both been bombed.

'Shocking'

Last week Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, petitioned the Supreme Court to declare the result of the presidential election invalid.

The MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai says he has "shocking" evidence of electoral fraud, and is demanding a fresh election.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai
Tsvangirai wants a rerun

Mr Mugabe denies the allegations and has said no new presidential poll will be held until his term expires in six years' time.

Last week the ruling Zanu-PF party and the MDC began talks about the future of the country.

The talks, which have been adjourned for a month, are being held under South African and Nigerian mediation.

The United States, European Union and Canada have all imposed "smart sanctions" - travel bans and the freezing of foreign-held assets - on Mr Mugabe and members of his government.

In announcing New Zealand's own ban, Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff said there was "clear evidence" that those on the list had been involved "in terms of human rights abuses and undermining the rule of law."

See also:

09 Nov 01 | Africa
Zimbabwe editor walks free
12 Apr 02 | Africa
MDC challenges Zimbabwe poll
10 Apr 02 | Africa
No breakthrough at Zimbabwe talks
06 Apr 02 | Africa
Zimbabwe police break up demos
20 Mar 02 | Africa
Mugabe rival charged with treason
03 Apr 02 | Africa
Mediators seek Zimbabwe deal
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