British 'journalist' released on bail in Zimbabwe

A British national charged in Zimbabwe for breaching the country’s strict media laws has been released on bail, the Foreign Office has confirmed.

The man, who has not been identified, was detained five days ago after police and security agents entered a hotel in the capital Harare.

He had been charged with practising journalism without a licence, the Foreign Office had earlier said.

New York Times correspondent Barry Bearak was also released yesterday after being charged with a similar offence.

During his time in detention, the British national has been visited by the consul in Harare and his lawyer. His family were also made aware of his detention, the Foreign Office said.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that the British national has been released on bail.”

Details of the man’s bail have not been confirmed, but Harrison Nkomo, a lawyer representing the men, told the Associated Press that their passports were being held and they were not allowed to leave the country.

The raids came as Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe faced the biggest political crisis in 28 years.

Some observers fear that Mugabe plans to use tactics of intimidation and violence during the three-week campaign to ensure victory in the second round of voting.

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