A high court in Zimbabwe on April 28 has dismissed charges of publishing false information against investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono, declaring that the charges had no legal basis.
High Court Judge Jesta Charehwa ruled that the charges against Chin’ono, who has been critical of the government, are “hereby quashed,” saying that the law used by police to detain him last January no longer exists.
“The charges were terminated by the High Court because the section under which he was charged is no longer part of our law,” Chin’ono’s lawyer Harrison Nkomo said.
“I was arrested for falsehoods and accused of something I never did. I was charged using a law that doesn’t exist,” Chin’ono posted on Twitter after the ruling, calling the arrest and charges a part of Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s “continued political persecution.”
Chin’ono also said on Twitter that he has instructed Nkomo to sue the State for “unlawful detention, wrongful arrest, and malicious prosecution.”
Chin’ono added that the State still refuses to give him his camera and journalism equipment “to cripple my work.”
Last January, police rearrested Chin’ono for posting a video on Twitter alleging that an officer had beaten a child to death while enforcing COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. It was his third arrest in six months.
Police first arrested Chin’ono last July on charges of inciting anti-government protests on social media.
Then, police arrested him again last November on charges of obstructing justice for posting on Twitter ahead of a judicial decision. He was released on bail and banned from posting on Twitter that might trigger public revolt against the government.
© Fourth Estate® — All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.