Home Crimes and Courts Hopewell Chin’ono and Job Sikhala remanded further

Hopewell Chin’ono and Job Sikhala remanded further

Hopewell

Hopewell Chin’ono and Job Sikhala remanded further. Chin’ono appeared before Harare magistrate Lazini Ncube and was represented by Harrison Nkomo, who argued that his arrest was arbitrary and the State failed to place any basis for the arrest and constitutionally, he cannot be convicted on a law that doesn’t exist.

Journalist Hopewell Chin’ono was back in court on Monday after spending the weekend behind bars with his lawyers challenging placement on remand. Chin’ono is accused of publishing falsehoods by posting that a policeman had struck a baby with a baton while strapped on its mothers back leading to the baby’s death, a position which was incorrect and dismissed by the police.

The State, represented by Fari Nyamutowa, insisted that there was basis for placement on remand, arguing that freedom of expression is no absolute and has its limitations at law.

“Freedom of expression is not absolute and has its limitations in Section 61 Sub-Section 5 of the Constitution, the media’s role is appreciated for informing the public, but there should be guaranteed protection from harm in that dispensation.

His statement was published and it undermines public confidence in the police. The offense he is facing has not been declared invalid and remains valid under the laws of Zimbabwe,” said Nyamutowa.

Chin’ono also made a complaint against prison officers who violated the court’s order to have him provided with hot water, blankets and drinking water; violating his human rights.

Magistrate Ncube is expected to make a determination on Chin’ono’s application today. Meanwhile, legislator Job Sikhala also appeared in court before regional magistrate Ngoni Nduna and was represented by Jeremiah Bamu.

Sikhala was arrested at Harare Magistrate’s Court where he was representing Chin’ono.  Bamu raised a host of complaints against the police on how his client was treated upon arrest, arguing that Sikhala’s arrest was callous and motivated by unbridled malice by the police and that they improperly exercised discretion in arresting him thus violating Section 49 of the Constitution

“The arrest was callous in that Sikhala’s reference is CR389/01/21 and DR 09/01/21 while that of Chin’ono is CR390/01/21 and DR11/01/21 meaning that the report was made before Chin’ono was investigated, hence he is being persecuted for representing Chin’ono.

“Secondly, police having been advised that Chin’ono was in contact with two Covid-19 positive persons, they detained him in the same cell where Chin’ono was detained in without disinfecting it and even office 93 they used for interrogation.

This was callous and police must be ordered to give a detailed report on why they did not observe the Wensbury principles during this Covid-19 period,” he said. The matter was also rolled over to today for the State to make a response.

Source – Bulawayo24

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