Incarcerated Zimbabwean Journalists-cum activist, Hopewell Chin’ono has approached the Harare Magistrate Courts with a fresh bail application based on ‘changed circumstances.’
Chin’ono who was denied bail at both the Harare Magistrates and High Courts is through his legal counsel seeking to overturn the earlier judgments arguing that he is at high risk of contracting Covid-19 at the prison where safety regulations are being flaunted.
“We sought to lead with evidence from him (Hopewell) with regards to the dire conditions in prison, where there is every infraction of COVID19 regulations. There is no social distancing, you cannot wash your hands because the cells sometimes do not have water,” Chin’ono’s legal representative, Beatrice Mtetwa told 263Chat.
She also said her client is not safe since social distancing cannot be observed in the cells as a result of overcrowding.
Mtetwa further expressed dissatisfaction over her client’s exposure to COVID 19, alleging prison offers were forbidding Chin’ono to put on protective clothing .
“At prison, my client was asked to remove his Covid19 goggles because the prison authorities say they were not sure if the goggles were being used for protection or capturing prison visuals,” she said.
Mtetwa also argued that since Chino’no was earlier denied bail on suspicion that he would influence the 31st of July demonstration, it was high time her client be granted bail since the planned demonstration has since passed.
“Second change in circumstances relates to denying the accused bail on the basis that if realised before the 31st of July, he would continue to advocate for violence, demonstrations and protest on that date. The date has come and gone without any demonstration or protest. The feared danger no longer exists and there was no violence on the stated date,” she said.
However, Magistrate Ngoni Nduna was not prepared to hear the application and deferred the matter to 12 August 2020.