A Zimbabwean court on Wednesday freed on bail an editor and two reporters from a state-owned newspaper who were arrested for publishing a story that implicated a senior police officer in the killing of elephants in the Southern African nation.
Harare magistrate Tendai Mahwe ordered Sunday Mail editor Mabasa Sasa and two reporters to pay $100 each and report to the police once a week as part of their bail conditions.
The three were not asked to plead and will return to court on Nov. 27 when prosecutors are expected to set a trial date.
Police arrested the reporters on Monday after the Sunday Mail published a report alleging an unidentified assistant police commissioner and police officer were part of a syndicate under investigation for poaching of elephants.
The police denied investigating any of its officers for poaching and accused the newspaper of publishing falsehoods that were prejudicial to the state.
The Herald, the Sunday Mail’s sister daily paper, accused police in a front page editorial of using strong-arm tactics meant to intimidate the reporters to divulge their sources.
Poachers have used cyanide to kill 60 elephants in the Hwange national park in the west and the northern part of the country since late September.