Pre-trial detention: High Court judge ends Chin’ono nightmare

HIGH Court judge justice Tawanda Chitapi on Wednesday set free investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono after granting him Z$10,000 bail, ending 43 days of incarceration.

Chin’ono who was released from remand prison on his fourth attempt at bail, was gagged from posting messages using his specific twitter handle.

He was ordered to reside at given address and to report at a Zimbabwe Republic Police station two times a week until finalisation of his matter.

Earlier, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) who are representing Chin’ono complained against Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service’s treatment of their client.

ZLHR said that prison guards manhandled the freelance journalist and brought him to appear before Harare Magistrate Ngoni Nduna against the advice of his medical practitioner.

“The doctor who examined him on Monday advised prison authorities at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison to put him in self isolation,” ZLHR said.

“The doctor recommended that given his condition and the symptoms that he was showing he should not go to court but should be isolated from other inmates.”

“But some defiant prison guards on Tuesday ignored the doctors’ recommendations and misrepresented to him that his doctor had come to see him before forcing him out of his cell and manhandled him to board the prison truck and brought him to court against the advice of his private doctor.”

The release of Chino’no on bail follows that of opposition politician Jacob Ngarivhume who was granted Z$50,000 bail after a High Court judge acceded to his bail application

The Transform Zimbabwe Leader and the Chin’ono were arrested on July 20 charged with inciting public violence for allegedly calling for removal of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.

The protest was thwarted by police and the military which kept people off the streets of Harare, the capital, and other cities on July 31.

On three occasions, two Magistrates and a High Court Judge had refused to release the pair from prison on bail.