Journalist Peter Niesewend, who spent 71 days in solitary confinement in Rhodesian jails, arrived in London by air on Friday (May 6) after his sudden release the previous day.
SV Niesewand down steps of aircraft & leaving (3 shots)
MV Niesewand interviewed
OUT:"...thank you very much.
Journalist Niesewant arriving at London Airport; interviewed by reporters.
REPORTER: "How was your wife when she received the news...when she finally saw you walk through the door?
NIESEWAND: .....I can't say...."
REPORTER: How did you spend your 71 days in prison?
NIESEWAND: Trying to imaging I wasn't in prison. The only way I found I could get through solitary confinement was to pretend I wasn't there....as much of the time as I could to forget about outside things as much as I could.....to go into a state of suspended animation, not to hope for release at any particular time. I did once or twice but it came to nothing. In solitary confinement one gets into a rather weakened state where you just coast along and this is broken up by periods of ....suddenly they'll take you out...when they say 'You're going to have a review tribunal' and to get dressed and you're geared up for it and they come and say it's been cancelled.
Initials SGM/2300 SGM/2230
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Journalist Peter Niesewend, who spent 71 days in solitary confinement in Rhodesian jails, arrived in London by air on Friday (May 6) after his sudden release the previous day. He told reporters solitary confinement had been a great strain -- and he only got through it by 'pretending I wasn't there.'
Niesewand, aged 28, left his 26-year-old pregnant wife and baby son in Salisbury to clear up his affairs before they join him in England. He was jailed on February 20 under the country's Emergency Powers Act and later charged -- in a separate issue -- with contravening the Official Secrete Act. He was found guilty and sentenced to two years hard labour in prison, with one year suspended, but an appeals court quashed the conviction on Tuesday (May 1).
A statement by Rhodesian Minister of Justice, Law and Order Mr. Desmond Lardner-Burke on Thursday (May 4) said Niesewand was allowed to leave Rhodesia as he considered Niesewand's presence outside Rhodesia "will not be detrimental to the interests of public safety or public order within Rhodesia". The detention order was not revoked, and could be used if Niesewand returned -- apart from two weeks annually which Niesewand has been granted to visit relatives.
Niesewand, a Rhodesian citizen, represents several international news organisations. His detention order was signed by Mr. Lardner-Burke, who was a personal friend of the Niesewand family through the reporter's wife.