Computers seized in raid on Zimbabwe newspaper

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The Independent Online

Zimbabwean state security agents confiscated computers and other equipment yesterday at the offices of the country's only independent daily newspaper, The Daily News.

The newspaper was shut down by President Robert Mugabe's regime at the weekend in a move that has drawn international condemnation.

America urged the Zimbabwean government on Monday to allow the paper to start publishing again. But riot police closed the street outside the entrance to the newspaper in Harare yesterday. Sam Sipepa Nkomo, the newspaper's chief executive, said security forces dismantled computers and photographic equipment.

"They are determined to shut us down," he said. "We wanted to use our own experts to dismantle the computers because they are worth millions of dollars, but they said they have their own experts."

The move follows a ruling by the Zimbabwean Supreme Court that The Daily News was operating illegally.

The paper had refused to obey alaw requiring media organisations and journalists to get permission to operate from a media commission appointed by the government. It argued that the law was unconstitutional and challenged it in court. The challenge failed and the Supreme Court ordered the newspaper to register.

Mr Nkomo was arrested at the weekend and told that he would be charged with operating an illegal company.

Two photographers were also arrested during yesterday's raid. They were still in custody last night. Other staff members have stayed away from the paper's premises.

The Daily News submitted an application to register with the commission on Monday. But Jonathan Moyo, the Information Minister, said the application was incomplete

The newspaper was required to submit details of its finances and information on the political affiliations of its directors.