Fake Lockdown Extension Document ‘Author’ Granted ZWL$1 000 Bail

The High Court of Zimbabwe on Friday granted ZWL$1 000.00 bail to Lovemore Zvokusekwa, a 36-year-old Chitungwiza resident who was arrested on April 18 for spreading fake news.

This was revealed by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) through a post on Twitter. The post read:

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BREAKING: High Court grants bail to Lovemore Zvokusekwa to the tune of 1000 RTGs. Lovemore was arrested on allegations of peddling falsehoods. He is accused of sharing a message that ‘Lockdown’ that was ending on 19 April would be extended……

Zvokusekwa allegedly published a false Press statement purporting to have been issued and signed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa titled, “Extension of lockdown period by 13 days only”.

He initially appeared before Harare magistrate Judith Taruvinga on April 20 and remanded in custody to May 13 with instructions to apply for bail at the High Court.

Zvokusekwa was charged with publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the State.

Propagating fake news on social media and mainstream media about the novel coronavirus has been categorised as a Level 14 offence.

A level 14 offence is the highest offence in the country and it attracts a 20-year jail term.

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