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World News

Zimbabwe journalist Chin'ono denied bail after second arrest

FILE PHOTO: Zimbabwean journalist Hopewell Chin'ono, arrested in July for supporting anti-government protests, arrives at court in Harare, Zimbabwe, August 7, 2020. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo/File Photo

HARARE (Reuters) - A court in Zimbabwe denied bail on Thursday for journalist and government critic Hopewell Chin’ono after his arrest last week on charges of obstruction of justice.

The arrest of Chin’ono and dozens of activists in the last four months has led to accusations that the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa is persecuting the opposition, a charge the authorities deny.

Chin’ono, who uses social media posts to criticise the government, was first arrested in July on charges of inciting violent anti-government protests.

After his latest arrest, he was charged with contempt of court but prosecutors dropped those charges. He is now accused of attempting to “defeat the course of justice” after he posted comments on Twitter about the National Prosecuting Authority.

Chin’ono has denied the latest charges, saying he is being persecuted for exposing corruption in government.

Magistrate Marehwanazvo Gofa ruled that Chin’ono should stay in prison custody while awaiting trial because “the accused person has a propensity to commit offences”.

Doug Coltart, one of Chin’ono’s lawyers, said an appeal against the ruling would be made at the High Court.

Chin’ono was first detained for more than a month at a maximum-security prison until his release on bail on Sept. 2. The embassies of the United States and Britain have criticised the arrest of Chin’ono.

Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Promit Mukherjee/Mark Heinrich

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