THE European Union (EU) delegation in Zimbabwe says the continuous detention of top journalist, Hopewell Chin’ono are questionable and risks exposing him to the deadly Covid19 pandemic in the congested prison.
In an update ,the EU head of delegation in Zimbabwe, Timo Olkonnen hinted on the possibility of the accused getting infected.
“The current pre-trial detentions, delays of proceedings and bail denials without serious charges are questionable, especially in times of #COVID19. The infection risk in jail is high due to overcrowding and lack of hygiene. We know this because we support prisons,” he said.
Chin’ono was Thursday denied bail following his arrest last Friday on charges of communicating falsehoods.
Harare Magistrate Lazini Ncube ruled there was overwhelming evidence against Chin’ono and he should be remanded in prison.
He also stated Chin’ono committed the current offence while on bail for two other pending matters, which are before the courts.
He was first arrested in July 2020 for inciting public violence ahead of the foiled #July31 anti-corruption protests.
Chin’ono was arrested for the second offence in November last year following a tweet he posted on government corruption and the state accused him of defeating or obstructing the course of justice.
On the latest charge, Chin’ono is accused of publishing falsehoods after posting a tweet that a police officer had assaulted an infant to death last week in Harare.
Several organisations and human rights have condemned the arrest and detention of Chin’ono accusing the state of muzzling press freedom.
Zimbabwe National Editors Forum (ZINEF) this week said government’s actions will amount to a self-defeat in exercise warning that internationally, a bad record is being set for no apparent reason.
The Amnesty International also condemned the arrest and detention ordering government to immediately withdraw the charges unconditionally.