Zimbabwe journalist freed after four days

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The Independent Online

Peta Thornycroft, a correspondent for The Daily Telegraph, was last night released from a Zimbabwean prison where she had been held for four days over allegations that she violated new media laws.

Judge Mohammed Adam said he could find grounds for the continued detention of Ms Thornycroft. "There were never any grounds for her arrest. The accusations she is not entitled to work as a journalist are absolute nonsense," he said.

Ms Thornycroft, who was born in Britain but holds Zimbabwean citizenship, was arrested on Wednesday in Chimanimani, 150 miles east of Harare, while investigating mounting attacks by President Robert Mugabe's militias on supporters of the opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change.

Ms Thornycroft was initially charged with "publishing false statements likely to be prejudicial to state security" and "incitement to public violence", charges which carry a possible five-year jail term. She was later charged with violating the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, which criminalises journalism without government-issued accreditation.