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Lawyer for Detained Journalists in Zimbabwe Says 'No Case' Against Them


A lawyer for two foreign journalists arrested in Zimbabwe says the country's attorney general has concluded there is "no case" against them.

The attorney, Harrison Nkomo, told reporters Friday that it is up to police to release the journalists, or bring new charges against them.

Police in Harare Thursday arrested New York Times correspondent Barry Bearak and an unidentified British reporter. They were charged with practicing journalism without government accreditation, a crime under Zimbabwe's tough media laws.

A U.S. National Security Council spokesman said the arrests were troubling, and said journalists and non-governmental organizations in Zimbabwe should be permitted to do their work.

In the wake of the arrests, the U.S. embassy has warned Americans not to use cameras in urban areas or around any political activity.

Zimbabwe's government refused accreditation for most of the foreign journalists who applied to cover general elections last Saturday.

The U.S. State Department said today that three other Americans were arrested in Harare Thursday. Spokesman Tom Casey says two were quickly released, while the third remains in custody.

The detained American, Dileepan Sivapathasundaram, works for the National Democratic Institute, a U.S. organization that monitors elections. Both the Institute and the State Department say he was arrested for no legitimate reason, and are calling for his immediate release.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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