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Former congressman faces pornography charge in Zimbabwe

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

HARARE (Reuters) - Former congressman Mel Reynolds was due to appear in a Zimbabwe court on Wednesday on charges of possessing pornographic images and of staying in the country without a valid visa, according to legal papers seen by Reuters.

Reynolds, 62, a convicted sex offender in the United States, was arrested at a hotel on Monday and faces a maximum two-year jail term or a fine if convicted on the pornography charge.

Asked by reporters as he arrived at the courthouse how he had been treated in police custody, Reynolds replied: "Fine". The former Illinois congressman, who wore a creased grey suit, also said he did not have a lawyer to represent him.

He was due to appear before a magistrate later in the day.

State prosecutors charge that Reynolds had been caught with "nude pictures and videos of naked women and men having sexual intercourse" on his mobile phone, according to the copy of the charge sheet seen by Reuters.

Possession of pornography is illegal in Zimbabwe.

Prosecutors also say Reynolds was living in the southern African country with an expired visa after arriving in November. He could be deported if he is convicted.

The state-owned Herald newspaper reported on Tuesday that Reynolds had run up $24,500 in unpaid hotel bills.

Reynolds, a former Rhodes scholar, was a fast-rising star in the U.S. Democratic party when he was forced to resign in 1995 after being convicted of sexual assault, obstruction of justice and solicitation of child pornography.

(Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Tosin Sulaiman and Gareth Jones)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/140218/former-congressman-mel-reynolds-arrested-zimbabwe