Peta vows to stay in Zimbabwe

Even after his "lucky escape" from brief imprisonment this week by President Mugabe’s Government, Independent correspondent Basildon Peta is determined to stay in Zimbabwe.

He was released when his lawyer successfully argued the stupidity of the decision to arrest Peta under the new Public Order and Security Act because he had failed to notify the authorities of a demonstration by the journalists’ union. The law does not require permission for professional bodies to have demonstrations and Peta did not organise the demonstration.

Independent foreign editor Leonard Doyle called it a lucky escape for Peta. "We feel he has got off on a technicality this time. But he has been told by police that they are after him. They wrecked his house at the weekend and then called and told him they had been told from the highest level to bring him in," he said.

Doyle felt the newspaper’s splash on Peta’s arrest on Tuesday morning had engendered media interest globally and is helping to support the journalist.

"He has told us in no uncertain terms he is going to stay in Zimbabwe and sit out the elections. He has had plenty of opportunities to leave. We are concerned for his safety but he’s a mature journalist so we believe it is the best decision."

By Jean Morgan

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