British filmmaker held in Harare after rape exposé

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The Independent Online

An independent British filmmaker spent the weekend in a Zimbabwe jail on suspicion that he helped produce a BBC documentary which exposed systematic rape in the ruling party's youth training camps.

An independent British filmmaker spent the weekend in a Zimbabwe jail on suspicion that he helped produce a BBC documentary which exposed systematic rape in the ruling party's youth training camps.

Simon Bright, who works from Zimbabwe and holds a British passport, has since been released to the custody of his lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, after being arrested and jailed on Friday. Ms Mtetwa said the police arrested Mr Bright as he tried to board an Air Zimbabwe plane to London.

The police interrogated him over whether he worked or helped "outside broadcasters". He was asked if he had helped in the production of the BBC documentary aired on its Panorama programme.

The documentary exposed how Zanu-PF youth camps allegedly taught recruits how to torture the government's opponents and how young girls were allegedly raped as part of the camps' indoctrination lessons.

Ms Mtetwa said the police had no base for charging Mr Bright over the Panorama programme as he had nothing to do with it. He was then charged under the Public Order and Safety act over a film he helped produce for a non-governmental organisation on the transfrontier national Park which covers part of Zimbabwe's Gonarezhou National Park and the Kruger National Park.

Ms Mtetwa said the police could not explain which parts of the film they found objectionable. He was released after Ms Mtetwa demanded a full screening of his film in court.

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