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Jailed Zimbabwean NYT reporter shares tales from prison after release

New York Times freelance journalist, Jeffery Moyo poses for a photograph after his release from detention at the Bulawayo prison in Bulawayo on June 16, 2021.   -  
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Jeffrey Moyo, 37, a Zimbabwean freelance reporter for the New York Times (NYT) was granted bail Tuesday.

He was arrested three weeks ago over claims that he helped two foreign colleagues enter the country fraudulently.

Moyo, who was detained on May 26, was accused of providing fake media accreditation cards to help South Africa-based NYT reporters Christina Goldbaum and Joao Silva into Zimbabwe for a week-long assignment.

The 37-year-old was granted release on bail of ZW$5,000 ($59). However, he was not freed as expected due to technical glitches by court officials, his lawyers said.

"I was sleeping on the concrete floor. My prison cell 36 was so infested with lice and I had a terrible battle with the lice. They were feasting on me. It was really a terrible experience", Moyo recalls.

For the journalist, the pain of his detention on his loved ones was also excruciating.

"Some of the people who used to see my wife, especially the guards, they would come and tell me, 'your wife is stressed. It seems she has been crying.' And I'm sure it really drained her emotionally", he added.

Lawyer for the journalist, Amanda Sihle Ndlovu expressed her delight at the news of her client’s release on bail.

"I'm very happy this morning to confirm and announce that Jeffrey Moyo has been released from custody after having been granted bail by the High Court of Bulawayo after successfully appealing against a decision by the magistrate at Tredgold", Ndlovu said.

Tuesday's ruling followed an appeal against last week's decision by a magistrate to deny him bail.

At the time of Moyo's detention, the New York Times said the paper was "deeply concerned" by his arrest.

"Jeffrey is a widely respected journalist with many years of reporting experience in Zimbabwe and his detainment raises troubling questions about the state of press freedom in Zimbabwe," it had added in a statement.

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