Times journalist grilled over two days by police in Zimbabwe
By Never Kadungure | Nehanda Harare Bureau |
Veteran journalist Jan Raath has been taken to the Harare Central Police Station Law and Order Section for a second day in row as officers continue to grill him over a UK ‘The Times’ newspaper story that claimed Mugabe’s regime had struck a secret deal to sell Uranium to Iran.
According to lawyers, four police officers pitched up at Raath’s residence in Harare’s Meyrick Park suburb on Wednesday at around 17:00 hours and took him to the station for questioning over the story he co-authored with other journalists Jerome Starkey, Michael Evans and Hugh Tomlinson.
On Wednesday Detective Chief Inspector Run’anga led the interrogation in which the police expressed concern over what they claimed to be the “publication or communication of false statements prejudicial to the State.” The questioning by the police lasted two hours before Raath was released.
On Thursday Raath returned to Harare Central Police Station where he appended his signature to an affidavit detailing his contribution to the newspaper article after interrogations which lasted for an hour. The police advised Raath to “go and relax at home and continue with his duties.”
The Times story published on Saturday quoted outgoing deputy minister of mines Gift Chimanikire saying that Zimbabwe signed a deal with Iran to supply the Islamic republic with the raw materials needed to develop a nuclear weapon.
But Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu told AFP “that’s fiction because I have never been asked by the Iranian government or anyone from Iran for mining concessions.”
“They never applied for mining licences whether to mine uranium or any other mineral. The country is not mining uranium. If Chimanikire told the reporter about an agreement to export uranium to Iran maybe it was in a dream,” Mpofu added.
According to the Zanu PF controlled Sunday Mail newspaper Zimbabwean police were looking for Jan Raath and Jerome Starkey, for “spreading falsehoods” in the uranium deal story.