Landmark victory for Chin’ono and Ngarivhume

As judge orders ZPCS to stop ill-treatment in prison

Source: Landmark victory for Chin’ono and Ngarivhume – The Zimbabwean

Jacob Ngarivhume

A ZIMBABWEAN court on Friday 14 August 2020 ordered Zimbabwe Prisons
and Correctional Service (ZPCS) to stop the persecution of freelance
journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and Transform Zimbabwe political party
leader Jacob Ngarivhume and allow them access to basic rights while in
detention at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison.

Through their lawyers Beatrice Mtetwa, Gift Mtisi, Douglas Coltart,
Roseyln Hanzi and Moses Nkomo of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights,
Chin’ono and Ngarivhume filed an urgent chamber application at the
High Court seeking an order compelling ZPCS to stop subjecting the
prisoners inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

In their application which was argued before High Court Judge Justice
Jester Charewa by Advocate Taona Nyamakura, Chin’ono and Ngarivhume
argued that they were unlawfully and unprocedurally deprived of
several of their fundamental rights including the use of Personal
Protective Equipment despite the rise in coronavirus infections and
ZPCS’s apparent lack of adequate protective mechanisms against the
deadly pandemic.

Chin’ono and Ngarivhume also asked to be allowed to receive food from
private sources, to provide for themselves or from outside sources
with warm clothing and to provide their own bedding and other
necessities.

The Officer In Charge of Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison, Paradzai
Zimondi, the Commissioner-General of ZPCS and Ziyambi Ziyambi, the
Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, were listed as
respondents to the urgent chamber application.

Chin’ono and Ngarivhume were arrested by Zimbabwe Republic Police 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. They 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 planned anti-government
protests called for on 31 July 2020.

The prisoners argued that ZPCS had not furnished them with any cogent
reasons justifying the illegal deprivation of their rights including
being denied to have private consultations with their lawyers save to
state that they were following orders from some undisclosed prison
officials.

Chin’ono and Ngarivhume told the court that they have a right to
conditions of detention that are consistent with human dignity as
enshrined in section 50 of the Constitution as read with section 78 of
the Prisons Act.

The duo said by denying them the right to food, personal protective
equipment and warm clothing, ZPCS was deliberately placing their lives
in danger.
In a landmark ruling handed down on Friday 14 August 2020, High Court
Judge Justice Jester Charewa ordered ZPCS to allow Chin’ono and
Ngarivhume access to their legal practitioners and to ensure that the
privacy of their communication is respected and also to access medical
practitioners of choice in line with reasonable administrative
measures.

Justice Charewa ordered ZPCS to allow Chin’ono and Ngarivhume access
to food in line with reasonable administrative measures, access to
social visits, in line with reasonable administrative measures.

ZPCS was also ordered to allow the prisoners access to clothing on
condition that the supplied clothes mirror as best as practicably
possible the colours permitted for prisoners and to access personal
protective equipment particularly masks and gloves.

Meanwhile, Chinóno returns to Harare Magistrates Court on Tuesday 18
August 2020, where Magistrate Ngoni Nduna will hand down his ruling on
an application in which state prosecutor Whisper Mabhaudhi is seeking
to have Mtetwa to be removed from representing Chin’ono as his lead
lawyer.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 1
  • comment-avatar
    Fallenz 2 months ago

    Two thoughts:
    Telling that it takes a court order to require such simple ammentities be allowed.    The ZPCS is acting as though a conviction has been made, and the sentence is that the prisoner must be made as uncomfortable as possible for divulging truth.

    When has a court ruling changed anything where ZANUPF’s actions are determined to be illegal.  This is the party that wants to be accepted as civilized. 

    Sham.  Scam.  Shame. Scandle.  Sinister.