BBC presenter arrested in Zimbabwe, lawyer says

Reuters , Sunday 27 May 2012

Zimbabwe's police arrest BBC radio presenter for working without permit; BBC hopes for a fast resolution

A BBC radio presenter has been arrested in Zimbabwe and charged with working without a permit, his lawyer told Reuters on Sunday.

Petroc Trelawny was detained in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city, on Thursday while attending an arts festival, Munyaradzi Nzarayapenga said.

The presenter, who denies the charges, was sent to hospital after falling and fracturing his arm while in custody and is likely to appear in court on Monday, the lawyer said.

"He maintains it was purely an accident. He tripped and fell," Nzarayapenga said.

"He is being charged with contravening the immigration act by working without a permit."

A BBC spokesman: "We are aware of the situation and hope it will be resolved soon."

The police were not immediately available for comment.

Zimbabwe's media laws require journalists to be accredited by a state-appointed commission. Police regularly arrest and deport foreign journalists for working in the country without clearance.

BBC reporters were banned from Zimbabwe in 2001, when President Robert Mugabe's government accused the broadcaster of reporting lies.

But the ban was lifted in 2009 after Mugabe's ZANU-PF lost its majority in parliament and he was forced into a power-sharing deal with Morgan Tsvangirai.

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