Zimbabwean Journalist Released Over Tweet After Arrest

Following his arrest earlier this month for allegedly obstructing justice by tweeting about a gold smuggling case, the Zimbabwean High Court released award-winning journalist Hopewell Chin’ono on bail.

Over the past 17 days, Chin’ono had been detained in a maximum security jail, suspected of violating his previous bail terms by tweeting about a highly contentious gold-trafficking scandal’s potential court outcome.

Justice Tawanda Chitapi reversed a lower court decision on Friday, November 20, 2020, which refused him bail, arguing that the magistrate had “erred” and “misdirected herself in denying the applicant bail on the ground that he had the propensity to re-offend.”
Chin’ono has been barred under the current bail conditions from using his Twitter account to publish anything that amounts to defeating the path of justice.

Before the expected anti-government demonstrations, the 49-year-old was previously detained in July on charges of promoting public unrest, but was released on bail in September.

His most recent detention was related to the arrest on October 26 of miners’ federation boss Henrietta Rushwaya, who was detained at Harare Airport as she was about to board a flight to Dubai carrying six kilograms (13 pounds) of gold in her hand baggage.

Chin’ono tweeted that he had heard from prosecutors that bail would be given to the politically connected Rushwaya, an act that the state said had jeopardised “the integrity of the case”.

Chin’ono, praised for his investigative journalism, helped uncover a multimillion-dollar scam involving coronavirus supply procurement in May.

Educator, writer and legal researcher at Alafarika for Studies and Consultancy.

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