The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa, Commissioner Jamesina King has written to President Emmerson Mnangagwa regarding the arrest and detention of journalist Hopewell Chin’ono.
Speaking during the 67th Ordinary Session of the ACHPR, held virtually, Commissioner King said she wrote the letter to President Mnangagwa on 15 October 2020.
At that time, Chin’ono was facing charges of incitement to participate in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, breaches of peace or bigotry or alternatively incitement to commit public violence. Commissioner King said:
Journalists and other media practitioners play an important role … they provide the public with the necessary information to develop an opinion and make informed decisions.
However, despite their indispensable role in society, journalists are often targets of threats, intimidation, harassment, arbitrary arrest, detentions, and disappearances, in addition to physical attacks, which have sometimes resulted in murder.
Chin’ono was re-arrested again early this month on fresh charges of defeating or obstructing the course of justice.
High Court judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi is set to deliver judgment on Chin’ono’s bail bid, on Friday, 20 November 2020, after he was denied bail by Harare magistrate Marehwanazvo Gofa, on the fresh charges.