Reactions pour in as Zimbabwean journalist Hopewell Chin'ono out on bail
Politicians and civil society have welcomed the release of Zimbabwean journalist, Hopewell Chin'ono, who spent at least six weeks in prison.
He was arrested at his home in Harare, in July, after exposing alleged government corruption. He was charged with inciting public violence after he allegedly called on Zimbabweans to join planned anti-graft protests on July 31. He has previously denied the charge.
According to The Guardian, the Harare high court released him on Wednesday, on $10,000 (R475) bail. The bail conditions include that he is not allowed to post on social media and is required to report to the police station twice a week.
Chin'ono was released hours after Jacob Ngarivhume, leader of opposition party Transform Zimbabwe, was granted $600 bail by the same court. The pair were arrested on the same day. Ngarivhume is also prohibited from using social media until the matter is finalised.
Chin'ono told reporters that he was unwell and was awaiting Covid-19 test results.
Melanie Robinson, UK ambassador to Zimbabwe, said freedom of speech and right to peaceful protests must be protected as they are enshrined in Zimbabwe's constitution.
The US embassy in Zimbabwe called for the release of other activists who were jailed for exercising their rights.
These are some of the Twitter reactions:
Relieved to see Hopewell Chin'ono & Jacob Ngarivhume finally granted bail today. Concerned they were held for so long and that others are still detained on political grounds. Freedom of speech, media freedoms & right to peaceful protest guaranteed under Zimbabwe's constitution— Melanie Robinson (@HMAMelanieR) September 2, 2020
The good news for today is the release of Hopewell Chin'ono and Jacob Ngarivhume. The two were freed on bail with stringent conditions. They are not supposed to use twitter. Why is the regime so scared of Twitter? Waiting to see them without handcuffs and leg irons. #ZanupfMustGo— Steve 🇿🇼 (@SteveZwitter) September 2, 2020
Release of Hopewell Chin'ono and Jacob Ngarivhume is a positive development, esp after the length of time they have been held. Continuing to follow process closely with freedom of expression, assembly in mind. At the same time, also watching similar cases ongoing elsewhere in Zim https://t.co/wGA3EKhABX— René Cremonese (@ReneCremonese) September 3, 2020
It comes as a relief that fellow compatriots, Jacob Ngarivhume & Hopewell Chin’ono have been granted bail. While their freedom has been restored, we maintain that they never deserved to be incarcerated in the 1st place. The weaponization of the judiciary must be brought to an end pic.twitter.com/eH34w7zhKR— Obey Sithole (@TereraiSithole) September 2, 2020