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African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights

Press Statement on the arrest and pre-trial detention of Mr. Hopewell Chin’ono

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, through the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa (the Special Rapporteur), Commissioner Jamesina King, would like to express concern about the arrest and pre-trial detention of Mr. Hopewell Chin’ono, a journalist working in the Republic of Zimbabwe.
Mr. Chin’ono was arrested by the police on 08 January 2021 for the third time in six months and remanded in custody on allegations of publishing or communicating falsehoods prejudicial to the State.

The Special Rapporteur would like to recall that freedom of expression and access to information are fundamental human rights guaranteed by Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and other regional and international human rights treaties.
The Special Rapporteur would also like to stress that everyone has the right to liberty and security of the person, and further that detention must always be an exceptional measure of last resort.

The Special Rapporteur urges Zimbabwe to ensure that the fair trial rights of Mr. Chin’ono, and others in pre-trial detention, are guaranteed and secured and that the principles in the Guidelines on the Conditions of Arrest, Police Custody and Pre-Trial Detention in Africa are complied with.
The Special Rapporteur will remain actively seized of this matter.

Banjul, 21 January 2021