Journalist Hopewell Chin'ono posted a video on his Facebook updating and thanking Zimbabweans and the world for supporting him while he was locked up in Prison. Hopewell stated that because of his bail conditions he has not been able to say much to address his arrest and court case. Chin'ono did thank the world community for standing by him and Jacob Ngarivhume during their arrest. Watch the video below.
ournalist Hopewell Chin'ono granted bail
After more than a month in prison, multiple court appearances, and fears of Covid-19 infection, prominent Zimbabwean journalist Hopewell Chin'ono was granted bail Wednesday.
Chin'ono is charged with inciting violence ahead of a planned anti-government protest -- a charge his lawyers deny.
He is banned from social media and is not allowed to leave the capital Harare as part of his stringent bail conditions.
The journalist was most recently working on allegations of corruption relating to the procurement of Covid-19 supplies by the health ministry, according to Amnesty International which accused the Zimbabwe government of using state's security forces to silence critics.
Opposition leader Jacob Ngarivhume, who faces similar charges, was also granted bail. The duo were denied bail when first arrested on July 20 and transferred to the Chikurubi maximum security prison, notorious for holding political prisoners.
According to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), both men were strip-searched and bound in leg chains before being transferred.
"We are happy that they have been granted bail. But the bail conditions clearly curtail their constitutional rights," said Doug Coltart, a lawyer with ZLHR who is representing the two men.
Coltart said they are awaiting Covid-19 tests for Chin'ono after he developed symptoms of the virus over the weekend at the prison.
When Chin'ono was first denied bail, the United Nations High Commissioner called for an end to the "pattern of intimidation" seen in Zimbabwe, warning that authorities may be using the coronavirus pandemic as a pretext to "clamp down" on freedom of expression.
"We are concerned at allegations in Zimbabwe, which suggest that the authorities may be using the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext to clamp down on freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly and association," a spokesperson for High Commissioner Liz Throssell said in a statement at the end of July.
"The arrests of Hopewell Chin'ono and Jacob Ngarivhume are designed to intimidate and send a chilling message to journalists, whistleblowers and activists who draw attention to matters of public interest in Zimbabwe," said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty's director for east and southern Africa in a statement.