High Court Judge Justice Siyabona Musithu has acquitted freelance journalist and filmmaker Hopewell Chin’ono on charges of incitement to commit public violence.
Chin’ono was arrested in July 2020 on charges of incitement to commit public violence through posting tweets denouncing looting and corruption by well-connected political elites and their cronies.
According to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Justice Musithu ruled that the charges lack essential elements and particulars as may be reasonably sufficient to inform Chin’ono of the nature of the charges he faces.
The judge said the contradiction in the charge sheet and State outline left Chin’ono unsure about the offence which he is alleged to have committed.
Justice Musithu concluded that the State was on a fishing expedition when it arrested and prosecuted Chin’ono as charges preferred against him lacked the required particulars.
Posting on Twitter after his acquittal, Chin’ono paid tribute to his lawyers Beatrice Mtetwa, Douglas Coltart and Gift Mtisi. He said:
I would like to thank Beatrice Mtetwa, [Doug Coltart] and Gift Mtisi for representing me successfully and being there for me.
I would also want to thank the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights], their director [Roselyn Hanzi] and everyone who stood with me during my political persecution.