BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Africa
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Friday, 18 August, 2000, 11:50 GMT 12:50 UK
Zambian journalists cleared of espionage

The Post's slogan is: "The paper that digs deeper"
By Ishbel Matheson in Lusaka

In Zambia, 10 out of 11 journalists charged with espionage have been cleared at the High Court in Lusaka.

The journalists were charged after an article appeared in the country's only independent daily newspaper last March alleging that Zambia did not have the military capability to withstand an attack from neighbouring Angola.

However, the judge ruled that the newspaper's editor, Fred M'membe, did have a case to answer.

One relieved journalist after the High Court verdict said: "I'm a free man at last."

Shadow

Although the 11 defendants have been on bail since their arrest last March, the case has cast a shadow over their lives.

They faced lengthy prison sentences if found guilty.

The journalists were detained after a front-page article in The Post newspaper entitled "Angola Worries Zambian Army".

The government took the view that the article contained classified information which could endanger state security.

Intimidation

However, others have seen this trial as a blatant attempt by the authorities to intimidate Zambia's fledgling free press.

In court, the judge ruled that the state had brought no evidence to prove that the accused had actually written the article.

Judge Elizabeth Muyovwe said the arresting officer himself had admitted in court that he had simply detained any reporter who he knew worked at The Post.

However, she said the court had seen written evidence which purported to show that Mr M'membe had admitted responsibility for the article.

The newspaper's editor will put forward his defence on 1 September.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Africa stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Africa stories