A freelance reporter working for The New York Times was granted bail and released from a Zimbabwe jail on Wednesday, three weeks after authorities arrested him on charges that he improperly helped two Times journalists make a reporting trip to the country.
The release of the reporter, Jeffrey Moyo, came after a lawyer for the government wrote in a court filing that the state did not have a strong case against Mr. Moyo and that it did not oppose an appeal by his lawyers to have him released on bail. Mr. Moyo is also a freelance reporter for The Globe and Mail.
The court’s decision to grant bail amounts to a temporary reprieve for Mr. Moyo, who will have to pay a bail fee of 5,000 Zimbabwean dollars, about US$14, and surrender his passport among other restrictions because the charges against him – violating immigration rules by committing fraud to facilitate the entry of the reporters – are still pending, according to Douglas Coltart, one of his lawyers.
Mr. Moyo, 37, who lives in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, with his wife and eight-year-old son, had helped to secure credentials for two Times journalists, Christina Goldbaum and Joao Silva, to enter Zimbabwe last month. Authorities expelled the visiting reporters from the country during their reporting trip, saying that their accreditation had not gone through the proper channels.
Authorities then arrested Mr. Moyo and Thabang Farai Manhika, an official of the Zimbabwe Media Commission, alleging that the press credentials were fake.
Last month, a judge denied a bail application for Moyo after prosecutors argued that he presented a national security threat, but the government’s most recent filing said that he had co-operated with authorities, providing all the paperwork and receipts for the accreditation.
Mr. Moyo produced what he believed were genuine documents “from the rightful office which deals with that particular process,” the filing said.
Any potential security threat had been neutralized by the deportation of the visiting Times reporters, the state’s lawyer wrote.
The filing suggested that blame for any potential improprieties fell on Mr. Manhika, the media commission official, who provided the accreditation cards.
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