Mozambican authorities should allow Omardine Omar to seek appeal without interference.
Omardine, a reporter for the privately owned news website ‘Carta de Moçambique’, was convicted on charges of civil disobedience and was fined 13,734 meticais (US$200).
Report says police detained Omardine on June 25 while he was investigating a complaint about police harassment and extortion of street vendors who were evicted two weeks earlier from the city’s Estrela Vermelha market.
As an investigative reporter, Omardine decided to visit the scene of events in order to confirm his reports.
The journalist was arrested in the company of his assistant and cousin, and he was detained at the Machava Central Prison until June 28 when he was released following his lawyer’s intervention.
In an interview with Deutsche Welle, (DW) the journalist said “three policemen appeared and started to assault me and my field assistant. My cousin tried to find out what was happening and was also assaulted. We were treated like outlaws and criminals, despite my insistence that I didn’t know why they were doing that to me.
I was taken to the Seventh Police Station where I experienced one of the saddest moments of my life. We were humiliated and thrown into a dark, stinking cell full of mosquitoes, exposed to all kinds of risks. I asked the police to talk to my lawyer and my family about what was happening, and they simply said that I had no right to do that, that it was not worth it because they would not allow me to make any calls.
Then, coincidentally, they asked me to unlock my phone so they could delete the image and I simply refused. Then they accused me of drinking on the street and photographing the police, which constitutes a gross lie and an attack on my image and the work I have been doing”.
Omardine said that this is part of the authority’s plan to stop him from freely carrying out his journalistic work, and that the charges
Africa Media Development Foundation is saddened by the continuous violations of press freedom and the constant harassment of journalists in the discharge of their duties.
We call on Mozambican authorities to allow Omardine Omar follow through with the appeal without interference, stop every form of harassment on journalists, and allow them practice freely.