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Zimbabwe Journalist Opts Out of Bail

Over the weekend, Zimbabwean journalist, government critic and anti-corruption campaigner Hopewell Chin’ono was jailed for the third time in six months. On Monday, he said he will not apply for bail, promising instead to “fight” for freedom of expression. The 48-year-old journalist, who has a large social media following, often takes to platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to criticise the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, accusing it of corruption and mismanagement. His comments have been unusually outspoken for a journalist in Zimbabwe, where critics are often dealt with harshly. “I have a choice today, to immediately apply for bail and go home, or to fight the constitutionality of the law used to charge me and as a result stay in prison for a couple more weeks whilst doing so,” he said in a handwritten statement handed to journalists on Monday outside a court in the capital, Harare, local media outlet New Zimbabwe reported. Chin’ono has been successively charged with inciting violence, obstructing justice and publishing false information. Lawyer Doug Coltart told the Reuters news agency the latest charges stemmed from a Twitter post by Chin’ono last week in which he said a police officer had beaten and killed a child strapped to its mother’s back using a baton after a video of the alleged incident went viral. Police said on Thursday investigations showed the baby was alive.