BY SILAS NKALA
New York Times correspondent Jeffrey Moyo, who was arrested last week, is said to be living in horrific conditions in remand prison after he was denied bail by a Bulawayo magistrate early this week.
Moyo was arrested for allegedly contravening the Immigration Act after assisting two New York Times journalists to acquire local media accreditation cards.
He is also accused of conniving with Zimbabwe Media Commission employee, Thabang Farai Manhika, to facilitate accreditation of the two foreign journalists.
His lawyer, Doug Coltart, told NewsDay that he was denied bail on May 31 and has been languishing in remand prison, while there are reports that he was asaulted by prison medical staff.
He is also allegedly being denied access to his wife and relatives as well as blankets despite the chilly weather.
“We will be filing an appeal against the bail ruling. We are still waiting for the written ruling by the magistrate and once we get it, we will file the appeal hopefully before the end of this week,” Coltart said.
“We have already drafted the appeal and the reasons which were cited by the magistrate for denying him bail were that he is a flight risk, a threat to national security and sovereignty. We disagree with the magistrate’s ruling, especially on the issue of threat to national security.”
He said despite the bad living conditions, Moyo was in high spirits.
Prosecutor Thompson Hove alleged that Moyo assisted South Africa-based, Joao Silva and Christina Goldbaum to illegally enter the country. He is being charged with violating section 36 of the Immigration Act for alleged misrepresentations to immigration officials about the accreditation status of the two foreign journalists.
Goldbaum and Silva, who arrived from South Africa on May 5, were deported on May 8 because they were allegedly not accredited by the Zimbabwe Media Commission.
Coltart argued during the bail application that the fact that his client was facing national security charges was not enough excuse to deny him bail.
He said the Zimbabwe Media Commission had the sole right to accredit local and foreign journalists, adding that their ill-treatment by the police when they were arrested was unfair as they were forced to remove their clothing despite the cold weather, and were detained in a cell with too many inmates, exposing them to COVID-19.
The matter will be back in court on June 9.