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South Africa to Drop Charges Against Journalists With AM-South Africa-Bjt

August 29, 1985

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) _ Charges against nine journalists accused of obstructing the police during rioting will be dropped, the South African Press Association said Thursday.

It said Attorney General D.J. Roussouw of Cape Province gave no reason for the decision.

The journalists appeared in court earlier Thursday and were not asked to plead, but were told to appear again in suburban Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday. However, the association quoted Roussouw as saying the charges would be dropped Friday.

The reporters and photographers were arrested Wednesday while covering rioting in Athlone after police broke up marchers who attempted to walk to Pollsmoor Prison, where black leader Nelson Mandela is jailed.

There had been no ban on reporting in the area or warning that coverage was prohibited.

Those arrested were photographers William Campbell of Time magazine; Gideon Mendel of Agence France-Press; freelancer Louise Gubb, on assignment for U.S. News & World Report, Anne Laing, of South Africa’s Cape Times; reporter Michael Precker and photographer David Leeson of the Dallas (Texas) Morning News.

Also arrested were three film crew members working for the CBS television network, Wim de Vos, a Dutch citizen, and South African soundmen Anton van der Merwe and Fats Bokholoane.

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