Zimbabwe drops charges against BBC’s Petroc Trelawny

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BBC radio presenter Petroc Trelawny, being treated in a Zimbabwe hospital for a fractured arm, will not be prosecuted and is free to fly home, his lawyer told Reuters.

Zimbabwean state lawyers decided not to prosecute Trelawny, who was detained on Thursday at an arts festival in Bulawayo and charged with working without a permit. He had fallen and injured his arm while in police custody, his lawyer said.
“Yes, I’m happy to say the prosecution has declined to prosecute him. Effectively he’s a free man,” defence lawyer Munyaradzi Nzarayapenga told Reuters from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city, Reuters reports.

No reason was given for dropping the charges, he said.

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.

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 southern African country without clearance.