Jailed investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono’s lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa said that they are concerned he could be poisoned after authorities at Chikurubi Maximum Security Remand Prison restricted his access to food from outside.
Chin’ono was taken to the facility in leg irons on Thursday after High Court judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi had denied him bail.
Speaking after visiting Chin’ono at Chikurubi on Saturday, Mtetwa said her client is now being treated as a maximum security prisoner. Said Mtetwa:
I struggled to see Chin’ono and when I managed to see him, he was in leg irons and is being treated like a maximum security prisoner like the most dangerous prisoners.
He is not allowed food from outside even if they have special dietary requirements.
They say the only food that can be allowed is dry food bought online and delivered at the prison.
Of course, you know that will be delivered to the prison officer, but you want to see that the food is delivered to the person directly, meaning that the tasting requirement falls away thereby exposing the prisoner to poisoning.
Mtetwa revealed that Chin’ono was not being allowed to have visitors except lawyers.
She said what was more intriguing was that prison officers told them they were carrying out orders from above to deny him food from outside and keep him in leg irons.
Chin’ono was arrested in July alongside Transform Zimbabwe (TZ) leader Jacob Ngarivhume on charges of inciting violence ahead of the planned July 31 demonstrations that never happened.