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Namibia detains photographer seeking Jolie

South African in custody as authorities continue hounding journalists
/ Source: Reuters

A South African photographer was due in court in Namibia on Monday after being arrested trying to photograph pregnant Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie and partner Brad Pitt.

John Liebenberg was arrested on Friday afternoon after going to a private hospital in the Namibian port town of Walvis Bay on a tip-off that Jolie had been rushed there to have her highly anticipated baby.

Pitt, 42, and Jolie, 30 -- dubbed “Brangelina” by the tabloid press -- have sparked a media frenzy since arriving in the southern African country six weeks ago to have their first child, far from the prying lenses of Hollywood.

Their bodyguards and Namibian security have shielded the couple from journalists and hounded some out of town.

Green cloth screens mask the beach resort where they are staying, while pepper-spraying bodyguards and undercover police have made it almost impossible to get close.

Liebenberg, a 48-year-old veteran photo journalist, was taken into custody after driving into the back of a police barracks in search of a vantage point to take a photograph.

Police say Liebenberg was trespassing and trying to climb onto the roof of the police station to get a clear shot of the entrance to the hospital.

“He turned into the back entrance of the police station and we saw a policeman ordering him out of his car,” a reporter, who was driving behind him said, declining to be named for fear of falling foul of the police.

Liebenberg’s lawyer said he was due in court on Monday. He is expected to face a fine and may be sent back to South Africa.

Friends, who were allowed access to Liebenberg on Sunday, said he was being held in a communal cell at the police station.

“They called me late on Friday night, telling me I must get him an asthma pump but I was not allowed to see him,” said Jan Duvenhage, a local businessman who was tasked to bring him food.

He also told Reuters the photographer was suffering stomach problems and was “not in good spirits.”

Jolie’s due date had been reported to be May 18.