This statetment was originally published on zimbabwe.misa.org on January 22, 2019.
MISA Zimbabwe joins the international community in calling for the immediate release of Mozambican journalist Amade Abubacar who has been in detention since 5 January 2019.
Abubacar is a community radio journalist for the state-owned Rádio e Televisao Comunitária Nacedje de Macomia.
Military personnel picked Abubacar in Macomia, a town in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province on 5 January 2019. He is accused of colluding with militants that have sown terror in the northern Mozambican region. He remained in a military prison from the time of his arrest and was only transferred into police custody on 16 January 2019.
Abubacar appeared in court on 18 January 2019. The court denied him bail and further remanded him in custody. According to reports, the court ruled that his detention was lawful citing that he had appeared within 48 hours of his transfer to the police, completely ignoring his 11-day detention by the military.
Cabo Delgado is quickly turning into a media freedom violations hotspot. Abubacar’s arrest follows that of eNCA correspondent Pindai Dube in June 2018, and that of investigative journalist Estacio Valoi, Amnesty International researcher David Matsinhe, and their driver, Girafe Saide Tufane in December 2018.
This raises concerns that the military insurgencies are generally making Cabo Delgado an inhospitable province for journalists who might want to cover political events connected to the country’s national elections scheduled for this year.
MISA Zimbabwe Position
Abubacar’s prolonged detention by the military is a violation of his rights as well as his arrest under unconfirmed charges. The Mozambican government is setting a bad precedent in the violation of free expression and access to information in the region. The Southern African Development Community is strongly urged to act on the deteriorating media rights situation in Mozambique.
MISA Zimbabwe is a member of the Southern Africa Development Community Internet Governance Forum (SAIGF) Multi-Stakeholder Coordinating Team.
MISA Zimbabwe Regional Solidarity Statement