Zimbabwe drops incitement charges against journalist Hopewell Chin’ono
The Zimbabwe high court has dropped charges of inciting violent antigovernment protests against journalist Hopewell Chin’ono.
The award-winning journalist, 50, was detained three times and held for several weeks in prison. He was first arrested and charged in July last year for tweeting in support of an antigovernment protest. He was arrested again in November that year and in January 2021 on charges of obstructing justice and communicating false information.
The high court dropped the first charge on Monday, saying there were contradictions on Chin’ono’s charge sheet.
The High Court of Zimbabwean has dismissed the charges against me for Incitement to Public Violence.— Hopewell Chin’ono (@daddyhope) December 6, 2021
It means my arrest was & my case were trumped up as I have always argued!
I spent the past 15 months in jails and courts for something that I didn’t do!
It was cruel and tragic! pic.twitter.com/VBvKHgNKL7
“The failure to allege or specify the exact words to the charge sheet which allegedly constituted an offence, as well as the evident contradiction between the charge sheet and the state outline vitiates the charge sheet and renders it a nullity,” ruled judge Siyabona Musithu.
The same court had cleared Chin’ono of communicating false information in April.
“The High Court of Zimbabwe has dismissed the charges against me for Incitement to Public Violence. It means my arrest was and my case were trumped up as I have always argued! I spent the past 15 months in jails and courts for something that I didn’t do! It was cruel and tragic!” Chin’ono tweeted after the ruling.
Chin’ono is left with one charge of obstructing the course of justice for posting a tweet ahead of a judicial decision in November last year.
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