Zimbabwe court rejects bid to dismiss case against NYT freelancer
A court in Zimbabwe on Tuesday rejected a bid to dismiss a case against New York Times freelancer Jeffrey Moyo, who is accused of helping foreign journalists gain false accreditation, and his trial will resume in late April, Moyo’s lawyer said.
Moyo, 37, was arrested in May last year on allegations of providing fake media accreditation cards to South Africa-based Times reporters Christina Goldbaum and Joao Silva so they could enter neighbouring Zimbabwe for a week-long assignment.
In February, a regional court in the southwestern city of Bulawayo heard five witnesses for the prosecution, several of them state officials, before Moyo’s lawyers filed a bid to dismiss the case.
But on Tuesday, Regional Magistrate Mark Dzira ruled that the case should go ahead.
“We had made an application to have the case dismissed,” said Moyo attorney Kathleen Mpofu.
“Unfortunately, the magistrate found that the state had sufficient evidence to warrant Jeffrey Moyo be put to his defence,” she said.
“So we are coming back to court on the 28th April for the opening of the defence case, where we will bring our own witnesses to try and dispute the charges that have been brought against Moyo.”
The Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC), which is responsible for issuing media accreditation, claimed the foreign journalists had been denied clearance to work in the country and that their names did not appear on their accreditation register.
Zimbabwe has a history of thorny relations with the foreign press.
It introduced legislation in the early 2000s barring foreign journalists from working in the country for long periods and requiring them to seek accreditation for every assignment.
The law has since been scrapped, but accompanying regulations remain on the books. AFP