High Court Ends Persecution Of Journalist Hopewell Chin’ono

By Anyway Yotamu

HARARE – High Court Judge Justice Jester Charewa has ended the persecution of  Freelance Journalist Hopewell Chin’ono after he set aside Harare Magistrate Lazini Ncube’s decision to place the 2020 African Journalist of the year on remand.

Justice Charewa declared that section 31 of the Criminal Code is no longer part of Zimbabwean Constitution.

Chin’ono was arrested last year and charged with communicating or publishing falsehoods.

The arrest comes after Chin‘ono tweeted that police had beaten an infant to death while enforcing Covid-19 lockdown rules in Harare. Police later said the information was false.

Chin’ono was represented by Harare lawyer Harrison Nkomo from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).

Hopewell Chin’ono arrives at the Harare magistrate court.

Before his arrest, Chin‘ono was out on bail on separate charges of inciting violence after he voiced support for an anti-government protest in July 2020 and also on contempt of court charges for allegedly claiming corruption within the country’s national prosecution agency.

Chin‘ono is one of Zimbabwe’s most prominent critics of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration, accusing the so called ‘new dispensation’ of corruption and human rights abuses. The government denies the allegations.

Before he was arrested in July 2020, Chin‘ono had published an expose on Twitter, in which he alleged corruption involving a US$60m purchase of covid-19 protective equipment for health workers.

Mnangagwa later fired the health minister Obadiah Moyo, who has been formally charged with corruption in the case. Chin‘ono and his backers say he is being targeted for exposing government corruption. The government and the ruling party Zanu Pf accuse him of being out to tarnish Mnangagwa’s  adminstration image.

Hopewell Chin’ono leaves Harare magistrate court last year.

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