Nairobi, Kenya (Associated Press)-A famous Zimbabwean journalist responsible for false reports was found to have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus before being arrested and was sent to prison for isolation.
Zimbabwe police arrested Hopewell International for the third time in five months on Friday. The most recent arrest was when he tweeted that the police beat the baby to death during the enforcement of the COVID-19 lockdown rules this week. The police subsequently stated that the news was false.
On Saturday, his lawyers defended his freedom, saying that his arrest was illegal, but the court was unable to fully listen to their arguments and remanded him.
His attorney Harrison Nkomo said that Chinono may come into contact with people who have tested positive for COVID-1
On the other hand, the prosecutor argued that his exposure was the reason for sending him back to the remand prison “to ensure the safety of everyone” until he was medically examined.
Magistrate Lazini Ncube ordered Chinono to be transported to prison separately from other prisoners and should be quarantined, while continuing to hear his bid for freedom on Monday.
The magistrate said Chinono should be provided with blankets and hot water, conditions that he did not have during his time in prison.
Prior to the recent arrest, Chinono was released on bail for supporting violent protests because he expressed support for anti-government protests in July and also flouted court charges against the state prosecutors for corruption.
Chin’ono is one of Zimbabwe’s most prominent critics of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government, accusing the country of corruption and human rights violations. The government denies these allegations.
Before Chin’ono was arrested in July, he had posted an exposure on Twitter in which he was suspected of corruption, involving the purchase of protective equipment for health workers for US$60 million.
Mnangagwa subsequently fired the Minister of Health, who has been formally accused of corruption. Chin’ono and his supporters say his goal is to expose government corruption. The government and the ruling party accused him of coming forward to destroy Manangogua’s image.