Dismissal of Bogus Charges πŸ‘‡

HARARE , In a significant victory for press freedom and justice, the High Court of Zimbabwe has dismissed the baseless charges against renowned journalist Hopewell Chin’ono, ultimately leading to his acquittal. The court also ordered the State to cover his legal costs, marking a pivotal moment in a long and arduous battle for Chin’ono.

This ruling comes as a result of a legal challenge by Chin’ono’s exceptional legal team, led by the esteemed Beatrice Mtetwa and assisted by Doug Coltart and Gift Mtisi from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (@ZLHRLawyers). Their tenacity and commitment to justice have been instrumental in securing a series of acquittals for Chin’ono in the face of what he claims was political persecution by President Mnangagwa’s government.

The latest acquittal, the third in a row at the High Court, stands as a resounding validation of Chin’ono’s repeated assertions that he was targeted for exposing corruption within the government and its associated entities. This particular case stems from Chin’ono’s arrest on November 3, 2020, when he revealed a corrupt deal involving the National Prosecution Authority and Henrietta Rushwaya, who was apprehended attempting to smuggle 6.7 kilograms of gold to Dubai.

However, this victory is not one Chin’ono wishes to celebrate. The past three years have taken a heavy toll on his life and work as a journalist, as he was incarcerated on three separate occasions. His first arrest on July 20, 2020, came after exposing the misappropriation of public funds designated for COVID-19 relief efforts. Despite the regime’s false claims that he incited citizens to overthrow the government, subsequent legal reviews led to his release after spending 45 days at Chikurubi Maximum Prison.

Chin’ono’s subsequent arrests on November 3, 2020, and January 8, 2021, were met with similar unwarranted accusations and unjust detentions. On both occasions, the High Court eventually dismissed the charges as baseless. The journalist spent a combined total of 47 days at Chikurubi Maximum Prison during these incarcerations.

While Chin’ono expresses gratitude for his legal team’s relentless efforts and the High Court’s sound judgment, he firmly addresses President Mnangagwa’s government, highlighting the misuse of state institutions to punish and persecute critics, opposition members, and journalists. He condemns the three years wasted persecuting him for simply carrying out his journalistic duties, describing the government’s actions as evil and cruel, far removed from its mandate of protecting citizens.

Furthermore, Chin’ono reminds readers that despite his own acquittal, the struggle for justice continues for individuals like Job Sikhala and Jacob Ngarivhume, who remain wrongfully imprisoned. He emphasizes that no celebration can occur while innocent citizens languish behind bars, enduring similar persecution to what he experienced.

Chin’ono concludes his statement by expressing heartfelt appreciation for the unwavering support of Zimbabwean citizens, friends of Zimbabwe, and both African and global leaders who publicly and privately shared messages of solidarity. He also extends gratitude to his family and friends, whose unwavering support helped sustain him throughout this challenging period.

As the acclaimed journalist bravely moves forward from this chapter, his acquittals serve as a reminder of the crucial role an independent press plays in upholding the rule of law and democracy, as well as the collective responsibility to protect the rights of journalists and those who dare to speak truth to power.

Source -MasimbaNews ✍🏿

By Power

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