Zimbabwe Detains, then Frees Diplomats

Police held US, UK embassy staff for 6 hours, beat driver
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 5, 2008 11:22 AM CDT
In this photo taken Tuesday May 20, 2008, US Ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee talks to the Associated Press in Johannesburg, South Africa.    (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)
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(Newser) – Zimbabwe has freed 12 US and UK diplomats detained earlier today while attempting to investigate political violence, MSNBC reports. The US demanded Zimbabwe “explain its actions,” after police tried to run a car full of diplomats off the road, eventually slashing its tires and beating the driver. “We do believe this is coming directly from the top,” said US ambassador John McGee.

“Police put up a roadblock, stopped the vehicles, slashed the tires, reached in and grabbed telephones from my personnel,” said McGee. Then Mugabe’s supporters “threatened to burn the vehicles with my people inside.” A police spokesman denies the account, saying police were actually trying to help the diplomats escape an angry mob. “It's unfortunate when diplomats behave like criminals and distort information,” he said.