Journalist Chin’ono spending weekend in maximum prison

Journalist Chin’ono spending weekend in maximum prison

Detained journalist Hopewell Chin’ono will spend the weekend in Chikurubi Maximum Prison after Harare magistrate Marehwanazvo Gofa on 6 November 2020 dismissed the application for his release by his defence lawyers.

His lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, assisted by Gift Mtisi, had argued for his release saying he had been detained beyond the stipulated 48-hour period before appearing in court following his arrest on 3 November 2020.

The lawyers said Chin’ono had been over detained in police custody following his arrest on 3 November 2020 at 5.13 pm, but only appeared in court at 6.32 pm on 5 November 2020, in breach of the 48 hours within which an accused person should appear before a magistrate or judge.

The prosecution led by Lancelot Mutsokoti argued that although the journalist appeared in court at the Harare Magistrates Court after 5 pm, he had been brought to the court premises before 5 pm which was still within the stipulated 48-hour period.

Chin’ono is facing charges of contravening Section 184 (1) © of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act which deals with defeating or obstructing the course of justice.

Meanwhile, the defence team challenged his placement on remand arguing that the State had not provided sound justification for that. His lawyers also complained that the police had kept him in custody for an inordinately long period with the intention of maximising his detention, saying this conduct amounted to an abuse of justice.

They further argued that Chin’ono is appearing before the Anti-Corruption Court, but had not committed any acts of corruption.

The defence also complained that the journalist was being treated like a dangerous criminal in that he was taken to Chikurubi Maximum Prison, yet others that have been accused of corruption are not detained at the maximum prison, adding that this amounted to unjustified discrimination.

The case was postponed to Monday, 9 November 2020, for a continuation of the remand proceedings.

The fresh charges come at a time when Chin’ono is also on bail on charges of incitement to participate in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, breaches of peace or bigotry or alternatively incitement to commit public violence.

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The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe was founded in 1996. Its work focuses on promoting, and advocating for, the unhindered enjoyment of freedom of expression, access to information and a free, independent, diverse and pluralistic media.