Incarcerated journalist Chin’ono ‘seriously ill’

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BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

INVESTIGATIVE journalist Hopewell Chin’ono, who has been languishing in remand prison for over a month after being denied bail on three occasions, is seriously ill and desperately needs medical attention, NewsDay has learnt.

Chin’ono sent a message through fellow inmate Job Sikhala, to alert his lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, of his condition.

Sikhala, before the start of his bail application yesterday, told his lawyer Harrison Nkomo that Chin’ono had asked him to convey a message of his deteriorating health to Mtetwa, who was recently barred from representing the scribe.

The MDC Alliance deputy national chairman’s message was confirmed by human rights lawyer, Doug Coltart, who is also one of Chin’ono’s lawyers, who said he visited the incarcerated journalist at the Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison yesterday.

“I have just visited Hopewell Chin’ono at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison and can confirm that he is unwell,” Coltart said.

“We have alerted his private doctor who will be attending to him immediately and we
will act accordingly based on the medical assessment and advice.”

Mtetwa yesterday reportedly dispatched a private doctor to Chikurubi to attend to the ailing journalist.

Chin’ono is tomorrow supposed to appear before High Court judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi for his bail ruling.

He was arrested on July 20 alongside opposition Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume, on charges of inciting public violence by organising the July 31 protests.

Tomorrow will be Chin’ono’s fourth bail attempt after he was on three previous occasions described as a flight risk.

Mtetwa was last month denied entry to Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison to see Chino’ono following the order by magistrate Ngoni Nduna barring her from representing Chin’ono.

Chin’ono claims he had been feeding on biscuits and water after prison authorities refused him warm food from outside.

During the funeral of human rights activist Patson Dzamara, opposition MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa last week warned Chin’ono and Sikhala against eating food served in prison, fearing they may be poisoned by State security agents.
Dzamara died last week of colon cancer.