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Harare Court Denies Prominent Journo Bail Again

Prominent Zimbabwean journalist Hopewell Chin’ono has been denied bail for the third time since his arrest last month on charges of inciting violence over anti-government protests. The 49-year-old has been charged for his role in promoting opposition-organised demonstrations against corruption and a worsening economic crisis under President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Nduna said Chin’ono’s defence team had not presented new facts in the latest application and that the anti-government protests feared by the government could still happen. “It will be wrong to say [the] 31 July [protest] was a non-event,” he added. “There is a high likelihood that there will be nationwide demonstrations if the applicant is released.” Their arrest and continued detention has led to criticism that Mnangagwa’s government is attempting to muzzle the press and using COVID-19 lockdown to arrest, harass and torture activists. The government denies the accusations. Chin’ono was ordered back in court on September 1 for a routine remand court appearance. No trial date has been set yet. 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.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA