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Kenyan Editor, Policeman Acquitted of Criminal Charges

A Kenyan newspaper editor and a policeman have been cleared of criminal charges in connection with published excerpts of leaked confessions to police in a high-profile murder case.

Nairobi Chief Magistrate Aggrey Muchelule on Monday acquitted East African Standard Sunday editor David Makali and police officer John Chemweno of the charges. They were accused of stealing a police videotape containing confessions by suspects in the 2003 murder of university lecturer Dr. Crispin Odhiambo Mbai.

The magistrate said prosecutors never made their case against Mr. Makali. Mr. Makali and his paper had consistently denied having the videotape, saying their story was based on transcripts of the confessions.

The East African Standard and at least one international journalism group have hailed the acquittal as a victory for press freedom.