British journalist says Zimbabwe arrest was to scare others - Press Gazette

British journalist says Zimbabwe arrest was to scare others

The British journalist who was arrest in Zimbabwe earlier this month has spoken about his ordeal for the first time.

Stephen Bevan, a freelance contributor to the Sunday Telegraph has told Telegraph TV that he believes he was arrested along with Barry Bearak of the New York Times to scare other journalists in the country.

Bevan said: ‘The reason they arrested me was to scare other journalists off. I think the government of Zimbabwe doesn’t want foreign journalists in its country, reporting on what’s its doing. I don’t think they ever seriously believed there was a real case against me. This was symbolism, a warning to others. This is what could happen to you.”

Bevan was arrested on charges of working without proper accreditation in Zimbabwe and spent four days in prison before being released on bail. A high court magistrate later dismissed the charges as without foundation.

Bevan, who has since returned to his home in South Africa, said of his time in prison: ‘It was pretty grim. Conditions there were pretty rough. The worse thing was the lice in the cells. But we were well treated by the guards and we got a lot of support from consuls.”



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