High Court Judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi has granted ZWL 10, 000 bail to investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono under strict conditions that he stays away from Twitter, surrender title deeds of his plot, surrender passport, reside at his given address and report two times a week to Highlands Police Station.
Prominent freelance journalist, Hopewell Chin’ono has been released on ZW$10 000 bail by Justice Tawanda Chitapi of the High Court in Harare today.
Hopewell’s bail conditions include that he surrenders his passport and title deeds to property, to remain at given residential address and report to Highlands Police every Mondays and Fridays.
He is also barred from using or posting inciteful material on Twitter.
The prominent journalist has been at Chikurubi Maximum Prison for 45 days after he was arrested on 20 July 2020 on flimsy charges of inciting public violence after exposing massive corruption done by government officials.
Chitapi accused Magistrate Ngoni Nduna of failing to realise that 31st July was just a ‘D Day’.
Chitapi added that Chin’ono’s health condition was reason enough to consider him a bail candidate.
“The 31st July demonstration was a D Day. It was all about 31st July 2020 and the day has passed. Health condition of the accused person is a relevant factor to be taken into account,” Chitapi said.
His lawyer Douglas Coltart of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said the conditions were strict and stringent but they were happy that their client was free.
“We are happy that our client has been granted bail, that was our main thrust.
“Of course the fact that he has been incarcerated all this time is a huge injustice. These bail conditions are extremely strict,” Coltart said.
Hopewell Chin’ono has endured harsh conditions in prison since then as he was at some point denied home cooked meals and had to survive on biscuits and water.
He also had his lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa barred from representing him after the state had for some time denied them from having private conversation which are a legal right of any client and their lawyers.
Chin’ono was arrested last month and charged for allegedly inciting violence in connection with 31st July protests.
He played a key role in exposing Mnangagwa, his son Collins and his wife Auxilia in massive allegations of corruption, the US$60m Drax Covidgate scandal.
The fallout saw the arrest and dismissal of former Health Minister Obadiah Moyo.
Chin’ono was also arrested along with opposition Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume who was also granted ZWL 50,000 bail under conditions, he stays away from sharing messages on Twitter, to report three times per week to Waterfalls Police Station and surrender his passport.