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Publisher to appeal to court for return of passport

Lawyers for Trevor Ncube, owner of the Mail & Guardian, The Zimbabwe Independent and The Standard will be filing an urgent application in the Zimbabwe High Court on Monday against that country’s relevant authorities to explain why his passport was confiscated last week.
“I don’t see why they would not want to give me back my passport,” Ncube told the M&G Online on Monday morning. “I have a very good chance.”

Ncube’s passport was confiscated after he landed in Bulawayo on Wednesday. This was a result of recent constitutional amendments in the country allowing the limiting of Zimbabwean citizenship against those the government deems harmful to the interests of the country.

Ncube was one of 60 people named on a list compiled by the government to have their travel documents confiscated if they were to travel back to their homeland.

He appeared to be the first person to have his travel documents taken away from him under the new laws.

Paul Themba Nyathi, a spokesperson for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), had his travel documents seized a day after Ncube, when he arrived in Zimbabwe after a two-day visit to South Africa.

Ncube expressed anger and shock last week, saying he did not expect his name to be on the list of targeted persons.

On Friday, the Association of Zimbabwe Journalists in the United Kingdom said in a statement to the media that it strongly condemns the actions of the Zimbabwean government.

“This act of intimidation clearly shows the government of Zimbabwe is renewing its efforts to crack down on the small but vibrant media in the country,” the association said.

“The government of Zimbabwe last August controversially amended Zimbabwe’s Constitution to allow it to withdraw travel documents from its citizens, hiding behind ‘national interest’, but has not passed an Act of Parliament setting specific guidelines as to which offences warrant the withdrawal of passports.”

The following people have been named as having been hit with a travel ban criticising President Robert Mugabe’s:
*  Geoff Nyarota: Former editor-in-chief of the now-defunct Daily News
*  Nqobile Nyathi: Daily News former editor
*  Lloyd Mudiwa: Journalist and former Daily News reporter
*  Basildon Peta: Journalist, working in South Africa
*  Caroline Gombakomba: Journalist, former Zimbabwean Broadcasting corporation news presenter
*  Grace Kwinjeh: MDC European Union representative
*  Beatrice Mtetwa: Human rights lawyer
*  Gabriel Shumba: Human rights lawyer
*  Raymond Majongwe: Poet, trade unionist and teacher
*  Lovemore Madhuku: National constitutional Assembly chairperson
*  Brian Kagoro: Crisis Coalition chairperson
*  Noble Sibanda: Campaigner for asylum seekers in the United Kingdom
*  Strive Masiiyiwa: Businessman
*  Paul Themba Nyathi: MDC spokesperson — Mail & Guardian Online

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