Times Reporter Recounts Time Jailed in Zimbabwe

Journalist was detained by Mugabe regime for reporting on election
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2008 12:37 PM CDT
Zimbabwean human rights advocate Beatrice Mutetwa outside the Harare High Court Sunday, April 6, 2008 after lodging an application for the release of Bearak and Bevan.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – On April 3, Barry Bearak was arrested in Harare on charges of "committing journalism" and locked in a Zimbabwean prison. The New York Times reporter now tells the story of his imprisonment, which involved four days of negotiating the murky legal system with the help of one of the country's top human rights lawyers,  and finally gaining his freedom.

With a mixture of bribery and outside assistance, Bearak and British reporter Stephen Bevan managed to weather exposed and insect-ridden living conditions and share their relatively lavish food stores with starving fellow inmates. As the hapless police's case against them crumbled, Bearak and Bevan found themselves free—on $7 bail—and fled the country before further reprisals could follow.