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Journalist Arrested in Zimbabwe - 2002-03-28

The Zimbabwe correspondent for London's Daily Telegraph, who was also doing reporting for the Voice of America, has been arrested, under the African country's new security law, on charges of publishing false information and inciting violence.

The Daily Telegraph says Peta Thornycroft was jailed Wednesday in the eastern Zimbabwean town of Chimanimani, where she had traveled to investigate reports of violence against opposition activists.

Daily Telegraph Foreign Editor Alec Russell says police were moving the 57 year-old reporter from Chimanimani north to the regional capital of Mutare (Thursday). Ms. Thornycroft's lawyer visited her briefly before the move to Mutare and says he found her in good spirits.

The newspaper insists the allegations against its reporter are unfounded. Ms. Thornycroft does freelance assignments for news organizations beyond the Daily Telegraph including The Voice of America. The Zimbabwean government has not commented on the matter.

Ms. Thornycroft is a British-born Zimbabwean citizen who resides in South Africa. She is the first journalist arrested under Zimbabwe's Public Order and Security Act, a new law signed in January by President Robert Mugabe. The law vastly expands the government's power to detain individuals without trial.