Defiant Zim Prison Guards Ambush Sick Chin’ono to Court Against Doctor’s Advice

Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service (ZPCS) authorities on Tuesday 1 September 2020 manhandled freelance journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and brought him to appear at Harare Magistrates Court against the advice of his medical practitioner who informed prison authorities that he should be kept in self-isolation after his health severely deteriorated.

Chin’ono’s lawyers Advocate Taona Nyamakura, Gift Mtisi and Doug Coltart of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) told Harare Magistrate Ngoni Nduna on Tuesday 1 September 2020 that ZPCS officials forcibly brought the frail looking freelance journalist to court against recommendations by his private doctor who examined him on Monday 31 August 2020 and who advised prison authorities at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison to put him in self isolation.

The medical practitioner recommended that given his condition and the symptoms that he was showing, Chin’ono should not go to court but should be isolated from other inmates.

But some defiant prison guards on Tuesday 1 September 2020 ignored the doctors’ recommendations and misrepresented to him that his private doctor had come to see him before forcing him out of his cell and manhandled him to board the prison truck and brought him to court against the advice of his private medical practitioner.

On Wednesday 2 September 2020, High Court Judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi is scheduled to hand down his ruling on Chin’ono’s fourth freedom attempt after presiding over the hearing of his bail appeal on Friday 28 August 2020.

On the same day, Justice Siyabona Musithu will also hand down a ruling on the bail appeal filed by Transform Zimbabwe party leader Jacob Ngarivhume’s lawyers Professor Lovemore Madhuku and Moses Nkomo of ZLHR after Harare Magistrate Trynos Utahwashe recently dismissed his fresh bail application.

Chin’ono and Ngarivhume were arrested by Zimbabwe Republic Police members on Monday 20 July 2020 and charged with incitement to participate in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, breaches of peace or bigotry as defined in section 187(1)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act as read with section 37(1)(a)(i) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act. The award-winning freelance journalist and the opposition political party leader were also charged with incitement to commit public violence as defined in section 187(1)(a) as read with section 36(1)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

Prosecutors alleged that Chin’ono and Ngarivhume incited people to revolt against President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration during some anti-government protests called for on 31 July 2020.

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)

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