, LUSAKA, July 29 – Zambian police on Monday arrested and charged a journalist with having porn on his computer in another apparent crackdown on a critical publication, his lawyer said.
Clayson Hamasaka is the third reporter taken into custody for ostensible links to the Zambian Watchdog, which publishes articles critical of President Michael Sata’s government.
“They have arrested Hamasaka and charged him with the offence of possession of obscene materials,” his lawyer Keith Mweemba told AFP.
“They claimed they found some obscene material on his personal laptop,” he added.
“All is aimed at linking them up to the Zambian Watchdog,” Mweemba said.
The news site withholds its reporters’ names to protect their identities.
The equipment was confiscated in a raid on Hamasaka’s house on July 10, when he was detained with fellow journalist Thomas Zyambo.
At the time both were charged with sedition, but Zyambo was arrested while Hamasaka was released.
Zyambo later secured bail, but was summoned to the police station together with Hamasaka on Monday.
A conviction for possessing pornography carries a five year prison sentence in the conservative southern African country.
Police wanted to match Zyambo’s writing to a handwritten biography of President Michael Sata that was found on him during his arrest and led to the sedition charge.
“I am already appearing in court so why do they want me to write the same thing? They want to now know my handwriting,” Zyambo told AFP at the police offices.
Critics have accused the government of targeting journalists with trumped up charges.
Another journalist was arrested for possession of restricted information two weeks ago.
He remains hospitalised after he collapsed in prison, reportedly because of a bout of pneumonia.
Authorities have meanwhile blocked local access to the Zambian Watchdog.