Incarcerated award-winning journalist Hopewell Chin’ono’s lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa on Wednesday told journalists that there is an outbreak of Bronchitis, TB and Hepatitis B at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison where her corruption fighting client is being kept.
Chin’ono appeared before High Court Judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi for bail appeal after he was denied freedom last week by Harare regional magistrate Marehwanazvo Gofa.
The journalist was arrested two weeks ago and charged with allegations of defeating or obstructing the course of justice after he allegedly tweeted that he had spoken with some members of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) who told him that alleged gold smuggler Henrietta Rushwaya was going to be granted bail.
Rushwaya, allegedly President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s relative and former Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) boss was arrested at Robert Mugabe International Airport after she was caught attempting to smuggle 6.09kgs of gold to Dubai worth over USD$300 000.
Chitapi reserved judgement after both the state and Chin’ono’s legal counsel had finished submissions. He promised to hand down a bail ruling on Friday 11:30am.
But Chin’ono’s lawyer, Mtetwa of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights was concerned that her client was being exposed to outbreak of diseases in the country’s biggest and most notorious jail, Chikurubi.
“We have argued the bail appeal basically saying that the magistrate misdirected herself in a number of facts. We are hoping the court will hand down a ruling in our favour come Friday.
“He is okay but we have an outbreak of Bronchitis, TB and Hepatitis B at the prisons. We are concerned,” she said.
Chin’ono is already on another bail after he was arrested on July 20 and charged with inciting violence in connection with 31st July protests against corruption in government. He spent 45 days at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison before being released by the High Court.
The investigative journalist played a crucial role in exposing alleged corruption by Mnangagwa’s wife Auxillia and son Collins, the US $60 million Dax Covidgate scandal that saw the arrest and dismissal of former Health Minister Obadiah Moyo.