British ambassador to Zimbabwe Melanie Robinson says she was relieved to see the release of freelance journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and political activist Jacob Ngarivhume after 43 days of pre-trial detention in leg chains.
Chin’ono and Ngarivhume were on Wednesday granted bail by different High Court judges, with the former out on ZWL$10 000 and the latter on ZWL$50 000.
Posting on Twitter, Robinson expressed concern over the duo’s long detention on political grounds. She wrote:
Relieved to see Hopewell Chin’ono and Jacob Ngarivhume finally granted bail today. Concerned they were held for so long and that others are still detained on political grounds.
Freedom of speech, media freedoms and right to peaceful protest guaranteed under Zimbabwe’s constitution
MDC Alliance Treasurer-general David Coltart said the fact that Chin’ono was released on just ZWL$10 000 shows that the charges are frivolous. He said:
One further aspect of the release of [Hopewell Chin’ono] on bail of Z$10,000 must be noted. That means that he is out on only US$100 bail, an indication that the charges are petty. How can a man be held for 5 weeks and be released on $100 bail?
This alone illustrates the very serious injustice which has been done to Hopewell. But it isn’t only the rogue regime which is responsible.
This is a shocking indictment against our judiciary which through its flawed judgments facilitated Hopewell being detained for so long.
Chin’ono and Ngarivhume are facing allegations of inciting public violence for calling for anti-corruption protests on 31 July. They are both denying the charges.