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Cablegate: Trial of Andrew Meldrum Continued Until July 12

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

UNCLAS HARARE 001563

SIPDIS

FOR AF/S AND AF/PD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO CASC
SUBJECT: TRIAL OF ANDREW MELDRUM CONTINUED UNTIL JULY 12


1. THE TRIAL OF AMERICAN CITIZEN ANDREW MELDRUM, CHARGED
UNDER ZIMBABWE'S CONTROVERSIAL ACCESS TO INFORMATION AND
PROTECTION OF PRIVACY ACT (AIPPA), CONTINUED THIS MORNING.
THE PROSECUTION FINISHED PRESENTING ITS EVIDENCE.
MELDRUM'S LAWYER THEN MADE AN APPLICATION FOR THE CASE TO
BE DISCHARGED AS, IN HER OPINION, THE STATE HAD CLEARLY
FAILED TO ESTABLISH A PRIMA FACIE CASE AGAINST MELDRUM.
THE PROSECUTION ARGUED IT HAD ESTABLISHED THE NECESSARY
EVIDENCE OF MELDRUM'S GUILT. MAGISTRATE GODFREY MACHEYO
THEN CONTINUED THE CASE UNTIL JULY 12.

2. MELDRUM, A ZIMBABWEAN RESIDENT AND CORRESPONDENT FOR
THE GUARDIAN NEWSPAPER (UK) HAS BEEN ACCUSED OF "PUBLISHING
FALSEHOODS" IN AN APRIL 24TH ARTICLE ABOUT A WOMAN
ALLEGEDLY BEHEADED BY RULING PARTY SUPPORTERS. MELDRUM
PICKED UP THE STORY FROM ZIMBABWE'S DAILY NEWS, WHICH HAS
SINCE ADMITTED THAT THE ALLEGATIONS OF BEHEADING WERE FALSE
AND OFFERED A FORMAL APOLOGY.

3. THE CRUX OF MELDRUM'S DEFENSE THUS FAR SEEMS TO BE THE
ISSUE OF JURISDICTION. CAN THE GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE
APPLY AIPPA TO AN ARTICLE PUBLISHED IN A BRITISH NEWSPAPER
WHICH IS NOT SOLD IN ZIMBABWE? THE PROSECUTION CONTENDS
THAT ZIMBABWEANS MAY EASILY ACCESS MELDRUM'S GUARDIAN PIECE
VIA THE INTERNET AND THAT INTERNET DOWNLOADING CONSTITUTES
"PUBLICATION IN ZIMBABWE."

4. EMBASSY OFFICIALS ARE IN REGULAR COMMUNICATION WITH
MELDRUM AND WILL CONTINUE TO ATTEND HIS TRIAL.


SULLIVAN

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