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'Times' Reporter Recounts Zimbabwe Arrest

New York Times reporter Barry Bearak had been in Zimbabwe for only five days before as many as 21 police detectives were in his hotel room searching for evidence of a crime. He and British journalist Stephen Bevan were arrested.

The crime? Committing journalism.

Bearak and Bevan were held in a Harare jail for four days. Bearak tells Andrea Seabrook they were more fortunate than most prisoners: They had a lawyer and people knew they were inside and could bring them food.


He also tells Seabrook about bribing an agent to delete the numbers of his Zimbabwean sources off his cell phone — fearing that if they were discovered, they'd be worse off than him.

A magistrate found the state failed to provide any evidence of a crime and ordered them released.

A first-person account of Bearak's experience will appear in Sunday's Times.

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