NYT Pulitzer prize-winning arrested in Zimbabwe

Barry Bearak is an American journalist who reported for The New York Times, in March 2008, Bearak was assigned by the Times to cover the Zimbabwean presidential election, 2008.

On April 3, 2008, Bearak published a front-page story reporting that Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s party lost control of the Parliament and calling Mugabe a “statesman who became a ruthless autocrat to be forever remembered for murderous campaigns against his enemies.”

On the very same day, Bearak was arrested by riot police in Harare, Zimbabwe, while staying at a hotel frequented by many Western journalists.

New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller pledged the Times will make every effort to ascertain Bearak’s status and secure his immediate release. Zimbabwen police claimed he was arrested for “practicing without accreditation.” Zimbabwe prohibits foreign journalists from reporting there without government approval, which is rarely granted.

An American consular officer visited Bearak at the central police station in Harare, and reported that he is in fair condition. The New York Times reiterated its demand that Bearak be released promptly. On April 4, 2008, the New York Times announced that Bearak has been “falsely charged” with passing himself off as an accredited journalist.

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