Hopewell Chin’ono’s Case Drags On
Incarcerated journalist, Hopewell Chin’ono will spend another night in remand prison after Harare magistrate Lazini Ncube postponed his matter to Tuesday morning.
Through his lawyer, Harrison Nkomo of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), Chin’ono is challenging the charge used to arrest him which he says was annulled in 2014.
“If an act is void, it is a nullity and the State case must fall now. Part 4 of the sixth schedule of section 10 of the Constitution must be taken heed of.
“On the 14th of July 2014 a judgment was passed and the new Code being used in this country should not be there. On what basis can the State press on that in this courtroom?” queried Nkomo.
However, insists that it wants to place Chin’ono on remand insisting that the charges against him constitutes an offence.
“The State still stands on its position of placing him on remand. There is basis that he committed the offence and the offence is still in existence,” the state argued.
According to the state, “freedom of expression is not absolute and has its limitations in section 61 sub-section 5 of the Constitution. The media’s role is appreciated for informing the public but there should be guaranteed protection from harm in that dispensation.”
“His statement was published and it undermines public confidence in the police,” added the state.
Chin’ono is being accused of sharing statements on social media platforms falsely alleging that a child had been beaten to death by a police officer after law enforcement agents assaulted the mother of the child in Harare.
However, police later dismissed the claims saying the baby was fine and alive.
Meanwhile, Movement for Democratic Change Alliance (MDCA) National vice Chairperson Job Sikhala and spokesperson Fadzai Mahere have since been arrested over the same issue.