Award winning journalist, Hopewell Chin’ono, arrested on charges of inciting violence was on Wednesday visited by an unidentified woman at 4am to allegedly profile him, an issue that has raised concerns over his safety in the cells.
Chin’ono appeared before Harare magistrate Ngoni Nduna on Wednesday facing a charge of inciting public violence and his lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa raised fears over his safety in police custody.
Mtetwa also accused the police of breaking a French door after storming Chin’ono’s Chisipite house in Harare to arrest him on Monday.
Prosecutor Whisper Mabhaudhi challenged bail saying Chin’ono was difficult to arrest and well connected within the international community.
He added that Chin’ono had ordered his worker to block the police from entering his home.
Mtetwa raised complaints the top journalist was not informed of his charge upon arrest as per procedure.
“We complain that the whole process constituted an unlawful detention of the accused.
“We also want it placed on record that since they have his phone, they should not tamper with its contents or delete its social media content,” Mtetwa said.
“The woman went to the cells around 4am and profiled the accused indicating that she was part of the investigating team. Upon asking, the CID said they were not aware who the person is.
“Clearly there is a parallel structure that does not respect the law and Constitutional provisions,” Mtetwa said.
Magistrate Nduna ordered the state to investigate the allegations within three days.
Mabhaudhi said said that there was a likelihood for Chin’ono to abscond adding that the journalist knew the police were coming and that was why he was ready to electronically capture their arrival.
He said Chin’ono had already alerted the whole world that police were at his home.
“This assertion is derived from the fact that when he was arrested, the police, upon arrival at his place of residence, he had already given an instruction to an occupant at his house that he should tell the police that he was not in attendance.
“He once said it in an interview that he helped Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa who allegedly approached him seeking help with outside contacts.This evidence is admissible,” Mabhaudhi said.
“If the accused person is released, he is likely to commit the similar offense.
“He will have time to mobilize people to participate in the July 31 demonstration.
“The accused is mobilising people for demonstrations that intend to remove a constitutionally elected government,” the prosecutor added.
Bail hearing continues today (Thursday).