There was a small demonstration in Salisbury, Rhodesia, on Friday (April 6) outside the secret court hearing where Rhodesian-South African journalist Peter Niesewand was sentenced to two years in prison with hard labour.
There was a small demonstration in Salisbury, Rhodesia, on Friday (April 6) outside the secret court hearing where Rhodesian-South African journalist Peter Niesewand was sentenced to two years in prison with hard labour. The demonstrators, including a priest and some Africans, carried banners protesting about the secret trial.
Niesewand, aged 28, runs his own news agency in Salisbury and corresponds for several overseas news organisations -- including the British Broadcasting Corporation, some British national newspapers, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He was tried in total secrecy under Rhodesia's Official Secreta Act on unknown charges. One year of his sentence was suspended conditionally.
Prior to his trial, Niesewand had been held under another law allowing for indefinite detention without trial. He then spent two months in solitary confinement awaiting his trial under the Official Secrets Act, and in an interview outside the court after sentence was passed on Friday his wife, who is pregnant, said she was worried about his mental state. The couple already leave one child.
The trial has aroused wide-spread protest against the Rhodesian government, mainly in Britain and Canada. The sentence came the day after Prime Minister Mr. Ian Smith announced in Salisbury that settlement negotiations with Britain on the Rhodesian independence dispute were once again under way. The British Government denied his statements.
SYNOPSIS: There was a small protest demonstration in Salisbury, Rhodesia, on Friday outside the courthouse where journalist Peter Niesewand was being sentenced to two years in prison under the Official Secrets Act. His trial was held in total secrecy, and even the charges against him were not revealed. The trial has aroused international protest against the Rhodesian government. Niesewand, aged twenty-eight, runs a small news agency reporting for overseas news organisations, including the British and Canadian Broadcasting corporations. His wife, after hearing the sentence, told reporters he was very worried about his mental state after he had ben in solitary confinement for two months. The couple have one child, and Mrs. Niesewand is six months pregnant.