Renowned investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono was on Thursday taken to the anti-corruption court despite facing criminal charges related to his posts on Twitter.
Anti-riot police chased away journalists who were covering the hearing from the court gallery, saying there was a need to observe social distancing.
Chin’ono was brought to court late in the day after all the courts had closed for business and staff knocked off.
Harare magistrate Marehwanazvo Gofa then remanded him in custody without placing any charges on him, saying she could not run the hearing at night.
Through his lawyers Beatrice Mtetwa and Gift Mtisi, Chin’ono had submitted an application for the State to proceed with the matter by way of summons.
Chin’ono argued that he had been detained in police custody for more than 48 hours but Marehwanazvo dismissed the application before postponing the case to today.
Chin’ono is accused of creating close relations with the National Prosecuting Authority staff and got confidential information on the Henrietta Rushwaya case.
He allegedly posted messages on Twitter suggesting that prosecutors will not oppose bail for Rushwaya, something which they did, before later having a change of heart.
Chin’ono told reporters outside the court that the Anti-Corruption Courts were created to punish and persecute critics and journalists. He said:
We explain time and again to citizens that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government is abusing the court system using the Anti-Corruption Courts to punish and persecute critics and journalists. Here I am as the evidence. I have a criminal case before me, but I am in an anti-corruption court.