By Nyashadzashe Ndoro | Nehanda Courts |
Riot police tried to stop lawyers Gift Mtisi, Beatrice Mtetwa and Doug Coltart from briefing journalists about the outcome of an application by journalist Hopewell Chin’ono for exception to charges of inciting public violence.
Chin’ono was supposed to appear before Magistrate Muchuchuti Vongai Guwuriro where a ruling was to be made over his application to have the expulsion of the charges of inciting public violence.
The ruling will now be handed down on 26 May by Magistrate Guwuriro who was not available, allegedly attending urgent administrative duties.
But Chin’ono’s lawyers were threatened by riot police outside the court and Mtetwa was disallowed to properly address journalists.
While she was being pushed away from a particular point where journalists are addressed together with Coltart, Mtisi and opposition MDC Alliance Vice Chairman Job Sikhala, Mtetwa asked the police why they were threatening them.
“Why are you so harsh on us? Why are you coming to us with baton sticks? What crime have we committed?” she lamented
Sikhala also expressed displeasure with the police for threatening lawyers.
“What kind of a country is this? When our lawyers are being threatened like this, how about us their prisoners,” he said.
Chin’ono, 50, has been detained three times since he backed banned anti-government protests on social media, the 31st July protests against corruption, in July last year, when he was first arrested and charged with inciting public violence.
Two more alleged tweets landed him back in jail for allegedly obstructing justice in November and then publishing false information, and charged with Section 31 (a) (iii) of the Criminal Law (Codification & Reform) Act (Chapter 9:23), the section the High Court declared non-existent.
He spent an average of more than 20 days at the country’s biggest and most notorious jail, the Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison before being released on bail by the High Court in Harare.
Since President Emmerson Mnangagwa assumed power through a military coup in November 2017 that ousted late former president Robert Mugabe, his administration has increasingly been under-fire over gross human rights violations. Nehanda Radio