US embassy says government lied to them


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The United States embassy complained after the deportation of American journalist Andrew Meldrum that immigration officials had lied to them and his lawyers that they were not deporting him.

“By any measure, the GoZ’s behaviour during the May 16 deportation of Andrew Meldrum was a travesty. Immigration officials suspended due process, lied to Meldrum and his lawyer, lied to Embassy consular officials, defied 3 separate High Court orders prohibiting Meldrum’s deportation, and denied Embassy officers consular access to Meldrum after he was detained and taken to the airport.”

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 03HARARE963, MEDIA REPORT GOZ DEPORTS ANDREW MELDRUM;

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

03HARARE963

2003-05-19 13:49

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS HARARE 000963

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF/PDPA FOR DALTON, MITCHELL AND SIMS

NSC FOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR NEARY

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL PHUM KPAO KMDR ZI

SUBJECT: MEDIA REPORT GOZ DEPORTS ANDREW MELDRUM;

HARARE

 

1.   Under headline “Arrests, deportations: Government

running scared” the independent weekly “The Standard”

dedicated its May 18 editorial to criticizing the

Government of Zimbabwe for deporting Andrew Meldrum, a

United States national and Harare-based correspondent

of the British newspaper “The Guardian,” despite a High

Court order preventing the expulsion. Excerpts follow:

 

2.   “Zimbabwe has once again shot itself in the foot –

and in the full glare of international media, for that

matter – by deliberately flouting its own laws and

throwing caution to the wind just to allow junior

Information Minister Jonathan Moyo and the Department

of Immigration to settle old scores. Who would want to

invest in a country with a government, which can deport

an innocent journalist in total defiance of a court

order.? There is no doubt that the government, and

Moyo, were highly embarrassed after Meldrum

successfully challenged their deportation order in the

High Court in July last year. . . The way the

government. . .handled the Meldrum affair therefore

makes a mockery of Harare’s monotonous and tired

complaints that Zimbabwe does not deserve the bad press

it is attracting overseas. What better way to attract

a negative international image can there be than the

primitive, amateurish, unlawful and vindictive

deportation of an innocent journalist. . .?”

 

3.   Comment: By any measure, the GoZ’s behavior

during the May 16 deportation of Andrew Meldrum was a

travesty. Immigration officials suspended due process,

lied to Meldrum and his lawyer (“we don’t intend to

deport you”), lied to Embassy consular officials

(“Meldrum is not at the airport”), defied 3 separate

High Court orders prohibiting Meldrum’s deportation,

and denied Embassy officers consular access to Meldrum

after he was detained and taken to the airport. As the

Standard’s editorial points out, the Meldrum

deportation seriously undermines any grounds the GoZ

may have had to complain about unjustly negative

publicity.

 

WHITEHEAD

 

(11 VIEWS)

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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