Harare (New Ziana) –The High Court on Thursday denied bail to one of the alleged leaders of the foiled July 31 demonstrations, freelance journalist Hopewell Chin’ono, who was arrested on July 20 and charged with inciting public violence.
Chin’ono approached the High Court after being denied bail by Harare magistrate Ngoni Nduna, who remanded him in custody to August 7 for trial.
High Court Judge, Justice Tawanda Chitapi had on Monday reserved his judgement on the matter.
“Hopewell Chin’ono has been denied bail by Justice Chitapi. Our lawyers Beatrice Mtetwa, Doug Coltart and Gift Mtisi tried all they could so that Hopewell gets released on bail but the High Court decided otherwise,” his legal representatives, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, tweeted.
“Hopewell’s lawyers are now waiting to get a copy of Justice Chitapi’s judgement to assist them in determining the next step to take.”
Chin’ono’s co-accused, opposition Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume who is detained on the same charges, will know the fate of his bail application on Friday after Justice Chitapi also reserved his judgement on Monday.
“(Bail) judgement for Jacob Ngarivhume is not yet ready and it will be handed down on Friday.”
The duo are accused of being at the centre of plans by the opposition and some civic groups to hold the failed street protests of July 31, ostensibly against top-level corruption.
But the government, citing intelligence reports, said the protests were renewed attempts by the opposition to unseat it unconstitutionally, and banned them.
It has also cited dangers of spreading Covid-19 during the marches, as precautions against the pandemic such as social distancing were not likely to be observed.
Chin’ono and Ngarivhume are alleged to have used social media to incite the public to engage in street protests.