Zimbabwe court frees journalist charged with obstructing justice

FILE PHOTO: Zimbabwean journalist Hopewell Chin'ono arrives at court in Harare
FILE PHOTO: Zimbabwean journalist Hopewell Chin'ono arrives at court in Harare, Zimbabwe, August 7, 2020. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo/File Photo

November 20, 2020

HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwean journalist and government critic Hopewell Chin’ono was freed on bail on Friday after being arrested two weeks ago on charges of obstructing justice.

Chin’ono’s arrest and that of dozens of activists in the last four months has led to accusations that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government was persecuting opponents, a charge the authorities deny.

Chin’ono, who has criticised the government on social media, was first arrested in July on charges of inciting violent anti-government protests.

He denies the separate charges and says the government is persecuting him for exposing corruption.

High Court Judge Tawanda Chitapi found on Friday that a lower court had erred in denying Chin’ono bail, but said the journalist should not use his Twitter account to post messages that obstructed justice.

(Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Kevin Liffey)