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Times Reporter Taken Into Custody

A New York Times reporter covering the contentious elections in Zimbabwe has been detained by police. Executive Editor Bill Keller just sent out the following statement:

Barry Bearak, a Times correspondent based in Johannesburg, was taken into custody today by police in Harare, Zimbabwe, where he was covering the elections. We do not know where he is being held, or what, if any, charges have been made against him.

We are making every effort to ascertain his status, to assure that he is safe and being well treated, and to secure his prompt release. Barry is an experienced and respected professional who has reported from many places. He won a Pulitzer prize in 2002 for his deeply affecting coverage of daily life in war-torn Afghanistan.

UPDATE: AFP reports that Bearak was arrested with another reporter: “According to Zimbabwean police, the two foreign reporters were detained on suspicion of reporting without press accreditation. Zimbabwean authorities, who barred most foreign media from covering last Saturday’s general elections, warned a week ago they would deal severely with journalists who sneaked into the country and were caught operating illegally.”

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