Raymond Choto is a Zimbabwean journalist based in the United States of America. Choto is part of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Project at Voice of America in Washington, D.C.He used to be the chief investigative reporter for The Standard and was once abducted and tortured with fellow journalist Mark Chavunduka over a story he wrote.
Choto worked as a chief investigative reporter for The Standard, where he uncovered several stories about government and business corruption. In July 1998, The Standard and Choto reported that numerous business entrepreneurs, cabinet ministers and senior police officers were linked to drug barons and involved in money-laundering. In January 1999, he also revealed that 23 soldiers, including seven officers, had been in jail since mid-December for urging fellow soldiers to overthrow President Mugabe. Choto was a 2000-01 Knight journalism fellow at Stanford University in the United States of America.
Abduction and Torture
Choto and his editor Mark Chavunduka were arrested by the military after publishing of an article that reported on widespread Zimbabwean army unrest over the deployment of up to 14,000 troops in the civil war then raging in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Choto claimed that 23 disgruntled soldiers had been detained for inciting mutiny against Mugabe. Chavunduka and Choto were arrested and charged with publishing false news likely to cause alarm. They were detained for almost a week. They were allegedly tortured before being released on bail.
According to their lawyer, Simon Bull, both men were subjected to electric shocks on their genitals, hands and feet by military interrogators, and had their heads submerged in drums of water. They were also blindfolded, stripped naked, made to do push-ups in the rain, and to roll in wet grass to clean the blood from their bodies after beating. Independent medical sources confirmed the torture allegations. The incident, was condemned by many and labelled as the most outrageous attack on press freedom in Zimbabwe since independence.
President Mugabe, however, refused to condemn the torture. Mugabe challenged four supreme judges to resign after they asked him to comment on the illegal detention and alleged torture of two journalists.
- joint-winners of the International Press Freedom award with Mark Chavunduka, sponsored by the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression.
- first African journalists together with Mark Chavunduka to receive the British James Cameron Award.
Life After Arrest and Torture
Choto went on to join the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Project at Voice of America in Washington, D.C. where he is currently working. From 2000 to 2001, Choto was a Knight journalism fellow at Stanford University.
- Ray Choto, The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, published: No Date Given, retrieved: June 27, 2016
- Mthulisi Mathuthu, Police search for Chavunduka/Choto, The Zimbabwe Independent, published: March 3, 2005, retrieved: June 23, 2016
- Peter Tatchell, Arrest Mugabe for torture, The Guardian UK, published: March 1, 2002, retrieved: June 23, 2016
- Mugabe challenges Supreme Court, British Broadcasting Corporation, published: February 8, 1999, retrieved: June 23, 2016