Zimbabwe News

Zimbabwe journalist Hopewell Chin’ono denied bail for third time over anti-government protests

Zimbabwean journalist and documentary filmmaker Hopewell Chin'ono (2nd L) consults with his lawyers Beatrice Mtetwa (L) and Doug Coltart (R) while police search his office in Harare on July 21, 2020, a day after he was arrested and charged with incitement to commit public violence.


Zimbabwean journalist and documentary filmmaker Hopewell Chin’ono (2nd L) consults with his lawyers Beatrice Mtetwa (L) and Doug Coltart (R) while police search his office in Harare on July 21, 2020, a day after he was arrested and charged with incitement to commit public violence.

PHOTO: Jekesai Njikizana/AFP

  • Hopewell
    Chin’ono, an award-winning Zimbabwean journalist who was arrested on charges of
    inciting violence, was denied bail for the third time.
  • Chin’ono
    was accused of promoting opposition-organised protests against corruption in
    the country.
  • Internationally-acclaimed
    lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa was ordered to stop representing Chin’ono, after a
    magistrate accused her of denigrating the courts.

Harare
– Award-winning Zimbabwean journalist Hopewell Chin’ono was on Monday denied
bail for the third time since his arrest last month on charges of inciting
violence.

Chin’ono, 49, has been charged
for his role in promoting opposition-organised protests against corruption and
the country’s ailing economy.

He had also helped expose a multimillion-dollar
corruption scandal involving the procurement of coronavirus supplies.

He was arrested at his house in
Harare on 20 July, and two previous bail applications were thrown out.

On Monday, magistrate Ngoni Nduna
rejected Chin’ono’s third attempt at bail.

He said the journalist, a
government critic, had sought the downfall of the ruling ZANU-PF party.

Lawyer ordered to stop representing Chin’ono

“It will be wrong to say
(the) 31 July (protest) was a non-event… there is a high likelihood that
there will be nationwide demonstrations if the applicant is released,”
Nduna said.

The protests were banned, and
around 20 activists who held demonstrations in their neighbourhoods were
arrested and have since been freed on bail.

Those arrested included top
writer and Booker Prize nominee Tsitsi Dangarembga.

No trial date has been set yet,
but Chin’ono was ordered back in court on 1 September, for a routine remand
court appearance.

The journalist has lost the
services of a top lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, after the same magistrate accused
her of denigrating the courts and ordered her to stop representing him.

The internationally-acclaimed
lawyer has been at the forefront of defending human rights activists for many years.

The July 31 protests had been
called by Jacob Ngarivhume, the head of a small party. He was also denied bail
last week.

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