Zimbabwe Deports Former U.S. Congressman Reynolds

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On Sunday, Zimbabwe deported Mel Reynolds a former Congressman from the United States after he pled guilty to remaining in the country in southern Africa on a visa that was expired, said an immigration official on Monday.

Reynolds, who is 62, was arrested last week at a hotel in Harare and received a fine of $100. However, the court dismissed pornography charges Reynolds was facing on a technicality, when the prosecution did not clear the charges through the office of the Prosecutor-General as Zimbabwe law requires.

An immigration official said the country deported him via a court order, but the official said he could not discuss the flight Reynolds left on or its destination.

Although Reynolds pled to the charge of an expired visa, he denied the charges that authorities found nude pictures and videos of couples having sexual relations on his cellular phone.

According to the lawyer who defended Reynolds, the charge of pornography had been brought against his client as a violation of the Censorship and Entertainments Control Law.

That violation could have carried a term of one year behind bars. Pornography is banned in the South African nation.

Reynolds had been in jail for a week following his arrest in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe.

Johnnie Carson the former U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe between 1995 and 1997 and now an adviser to Washington’s U.S. Institute of Peace said it is uncommon for someone to be deported from Zimbabwe.

Carson said they are unusual and usually involve sensitive situations that could cause a lingering issue with the person or persons involved in a particular case.

The Herald newspaper, owned by the state reported that Mr. Reynolds had run up unpaid bills at the hotel of $24,500.

Reynolds was a Rhodes Scholar and a rising star for the Democrats in the U.S. Congress. However, he resigned in 1995 when convicted of obstruction of justice, solicitation of child pornography and sexual assault.

Recently Reynolds had said he was the champion of U.S. investment in the African continent.

According to a report in the Herald newspaper, Reynolds had recently been involved in a deal that involved the construction of a Hilton Hotel with a cost of $145 million in Zimbabwe.

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