Zambian editor cleared of pornography charges

AP News
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Posted: Nov 17, 2009 10:33 AM

A Zambian newspaper editor has been acquitted of pornography charges after she e-mailed officials photos of a woman giving birth unassisted to a baby who did not survive.

The photos were taken in the streets of Zambia's capital to illustrate the consequences of a health workers strike.

Chansa Kabwela was acquitted Monday after a magistrate said the prosecution had failed to prove that the two photos were obscene. She was arrested in July and had faced up to five years in prison if convicted.

Magistrate Charles Kafunda said the photos were not obscene as they were never published in Kabwela's Post newspaper, and she only e-mailed them to officials including the vice president.

"I can't understand how those pictures were considered pornographic," Kabwela said after her acquittal. "Moreover, when we sent them out they went to people like the vice president whom we expected to act."

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Kabwela said the woman's relatives gave her the photos that showed the baby emerging feet-first. She said relatives told her the baby suffocated because doctors could not give assistance.