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High Court Ends ‘Persecution’ Of Journalist Chin’ono

High Court judge, Justice Jester Charewa has set aside Harare Magistrate Lazini Ncube’s decision to place freelance journalist Hopewell Chin’ono on remand after declaring that section 31 of the Criminal Code is no longer part of Zimbabwean law.
The state used Section 31 of the Criminal code to arrest and charge Chin’ono of communicating falsehoods.
This followed a Twitter post by Chin’ono about a police officer who reportedly hit a baby strapped on the mother’s back while trying to disperse a commuter omnibus which was loading at an undesignated point.
Chin’ono approached the High Court to have his arrest declared unconstitutional as the full bench of the Constitutional Court had in 2014 outlawed Section 31 of the criminal code.

“Our lawyer Harrison Nkomo has ended the persecution of freelance journalist after obtaining an order granted by Justice Jester Charewa in which she quashed criminal proceedings against Chin’ono on charges of communicating or publishing falsehoods,” reads the message from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

Meanwhile, Chin’ono said he will be suing the state for unlawful detention, wrongful arrest and malicious prosecution.

“I have just finished a meeting with my lawyer, Harrison Nkomo, who got my court case quashed in the High Court because I was charged under a law that doesn’t exist.

“I have instructed him to sue the State for unlawful detention, wrongful arrest and malicious prosecution,” said Chin’ono in a Twitter post.
United Kingdom based lawyer and lecturer Alex Magaisa said arresting officers should be sued in their official and personal capacities to set a precedence against future unlawful arrests.
“I hope @daddyhope Hopewell will take it a step further and sue the state and arresting officers for violating his rights and seek damages. The arresting officers should be sued in both their official and personal capacities. There has to be a precedent,” said Magaisa.
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Journalist based in Harare

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