News24

NZ journalist tells of horror Zim jail

2012-05-13 18:28

London - A photojournalist from New Zealand who was arrested in Zimbabwe has been released and spoken of the "hell" of spending 25 days in the country's jails, Britain's Sunday Times newspaper reported.

Robin Hammond, 36, who works for the newspaper, was arrested on April 16 near the South African border as he was reporting without accreditation on refugees fleeing across the border from Zimbabwe.

Hammond, who has won an Amnesty International award for photos of child soldiers in Sudan, was strip-searched and kept in a cramped and filthy cell with 38 other prisoners in Beit Bridge prison, the newspaper reported on Sunday.

He was told he would be charged with taking photographs in a restricted area, then interrogated with the apparent aim of forcing him to admit he was a journalist, it said.

"When they interrogated me, they made me squat on the ground. At one point they beat up a young man in front of me. They beat him so hard the broom they were using on his back broke in two," Hammond was quoted as saying.

"They towered over me and screamed that no-one could hear me. During one really bad interrogation, nine men shouted at me at a time. They were trying to break not just me but everyone in there."

While in jail he sneaked a note out asking his friends and girlfriend to change his online footprint to obscure the fact that he was a photojournalist, Hammond told the newspaper.

"I was at the mercy of a system where laws are bent to fit politics and human rights are regularly disregarded," he said.

Hammond was transferred after two weeks to Harare central prison. His release last week was secured by two charities, the Sunday Times said, and he is now back in Paris, where he lives.

The media in Zimbabwe is tightly regulated and journalists are not allowed to work in the country without accreditation.

Comments
  • Grant - 2012-05-13 18:59

    What a joke of a country, honestly. If Zimbabwe had always been this bad the I wouldn't really care that much. But the fact that this nation (Rhodesia) was once the envy of most of Africa (heck, even the Brits wanted to live there) and now is an absolute basket case is just a sad, sad story...

      Piet - 2012-05-13 19:59

      Thus is the fate of africa....

  • Sonja - 2012-05-13 19:04

    OUR ANC GOVERMENTS VISION OF THE FUTURE.

  • ESETHU_HASANE - 2012-05-13 19:12

    God Bless and Help Zim..... just dont send South Africa as a Mediator in trying to bring change... they have failed...

  • Brad.Kopping - 2012-05-13 19:18

    and the cANCer is friends with uncle bob ey...? disgusting,

  • tobydt - 2012-05-13 19:30

    But when Zimbabwe cant pay its civil servants, or afford to keep its electricity running, we (ANC) send them money and electricity.

  • Sello Jacky Majadibodu - 2012-05-13 19:45

    Never ever send an ANC mediator to Zimbabwe, they cant even sort out their messed up house #former ANC supporter#

  • Sello Jacky Majadibodu - 2012-05-13 19:47

    Thank you Busisiwe

  • Jacob - 2012-05-13 20:25

    We'r sick n tired of zim issues. Non hav the guts to lift a finger. Just shuddup!

  • Prince Blessed Mutati Dhliwayo - 2012-05-13 23:22

    Welcome to Zim Papa l.o.l what happens in Zim stays in Zim- according to them all foreign media except Aljazeera are imperialist agents meant to destabilise Zim, so when u go there make sure you have permission. He is very lucky that he is alive he should thank God.

  • Angelica - 2012-05-14 09:26

    OK ITS JAIL

      Angelica - 2012-05-14 09:29

      SHOULD NOT HAVE ARRESTED BUT YEAH ITS JAIL ITS NOT SUPPOSE TO BE FUN.. THATS THE PROBLEM WITH SOUTH AFRICA'S PRISONS NOW...THERE ARE SO MANY HUMAN RIGHTS ITS NOW FUN!!! ja wat

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