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Cablegate: Trial of Amcit Journalist Andrew Meldrum

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS HARARE 001419

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/PD, AF/S, AF/RA N

NSC FOR JENDAYI FRAZER
LONDON FOR GURNEY
PARIS FOR NEARY
NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM KPAO ZI
SUBJECT: TRIAL OF AMCIT JOURNALIST ANDREW MELDRUM
OPENS ON JUNE 12

1. The trial of American citizen Andrew Meldrum, the
Zimbabwe correspondent for "The Guardian," begins on
June 12 at the Harare Magistrate's Court. Meldrum was
charged with "publishing falsehoods," a violation of
the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act (AIPPA) after reporting the now-disproved story of
a woman beheaded by ruling party supporters.

2. Meldrum's lawyer believes the case would be
dismissed quickly under normal circumstances. We
know, however, that there is high-level Government of
Zimbabwe interest in the case that may make normal
court proceedings difficult.

3. Meldrum and two other journalists working for the
international media have filed a suit challenging the
constitutionality of sections of AIPPA. If decided in
the applicants' favor, that case would render moot the
outcome of Meldrum's trial before the Harare
magistrate. The High Court, however, decided that the
constitutional challenge to AIPPA was not urgent. We
will report on further developments as necessary.

SULLIVAN

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