Hopewell Chin’ono arrested again
ZIMBABWEAN journalist Hopewell Chin'ono has been arrested again - this time for contempt of court, apparently in respect of a Tweet criticising the process of his previous detention. Prosecutors argue in the alternative that he is guilty of "defeating or obstructing the course of justice". According to the Gambakwe website, this results from this Tweet (pictured).
The International Press Institute (IPI) condemned the re-arrest. IPI Director of Advocacy Ravi R. Prasad said: "The re-arrest of Hopewell Chin'ono is clearly a further attempt to intimidate independent journalists in Zimbabwe. Chin'ono should be released immediately. His initial arrest in July for exposing corruption related to the COVID-19 pandemic was a gross violation of press freedom by the government."
Hopewell was first arrested on 20 July on suspicion of "incitement to participate in public violence". This followed Tweets supporting an anti-government rally - and, probably more pertinently, reporting of corruption by that government, including the fate of US$60m in covid-19 supplies.
Hopewell was released on 2 September - with, his lawyers said, symptoms of covid-19. His bail was, the IPI says, on condition that he did not use social media for anything that might be critical of the ruling Zanu-PF government.