(Last Updated on January 11, 2021 by GERALD NCUBE)
…says will not seek bail
HARARE – Persecuted veteran journalist Hopewell Chin’ono has vowed to challenge the constitutionality of the law used to arrest and charge him, adding that he is ready to spend more weeks in prison to expose how the State is using unconstitutional means to curtail people’s freedoms and rights.
This follows his arrest on Friday on allegations of “communicating falsehoods,” a legal provision that many legal experts have argued was struck off the law in 2014.
In a statement prepared for the press by Chin’ono while in prison, he said while he had a choice to apply for bail and go home, he was choosing to fight even if it means staying longer in prison cells.
“I have a choice today to immediately apply for bail and go home, or to fight the constitutionality of the law used to charge me, and as a result, stay in prison for a couple more weeks while doing so.
“I have chosen to fight the use of this unconstitutional law used against me. If I choose to take bail without exposing the use of unconstitutional laws, the same law will be used against other journalists and ordinary citizens to muzzle them, as has happened to Job Sikhala,” said Chin’ono in his statement.
The outspoken journalist said as a senior journalist, he had a moral obligation to fight this unconstitutional law, adding that he would have sold out if he chose his immediate freedom over the protection of media rights.
“I would have totally sold out the journalism profession and the nation if I chose my immediate liberty over the media’s right to free speech, and the nation’s right to exercise it’s right to speak and be protected after speaking.
“It is also important to challenge this unconstitutional law so that the world can see where our judiciary stands in regards to the Rule of Law, especially the magistrates court.
“This law was struck down by the highest court in Zimbabwe, and all the judges on the bench the day it was struck down concurred without dissent,” he added.
Chin’ono was arrested for comments he made on the video about a police officer who allegedly killed a baby while on duty.
Job Sikhala, who was part of Chin’ono’s legal team was also arrested on Saturday on similar charges while attending to his client’s case while today opposition MDC Alliance spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere was also arrested on similar charges.