Try me or drop charges, Chin’ono dares State

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Hopewell Chin'ono

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

JOURNALIST and filmmaker Hopewell Chin’ono yesterday dared the State to try him, or drop the charges of incitement to commit public violence.

Chin’ono told magistrate Stanford Mambanje that the State lied when it submitted that it was waiting for authentication of his tweets from Twitter. He said the Twitter handle linked to him was his, and admitted to have posted the tweets that caused his arrest.

This was after the State, led by prosecutor George Manokore, said it was waiting for the authentication of the tweet from Twitter Inc, a company based in the United States.

“I am aware that I am facing charges of tweeting. I don’t deny making those tweets and they are still there. It is the third case being charged with tweeting. The first case was thrown out when we were about to go to trial. The second was thrown out at the High Court after arguing that there was no law stopping me from tweeting,” Chin’ono said.

“Twitter has a policy for Africa and such a desk is the one that has been handling complaints from Africa. It is a lie that the State has requested authentication because Twitter deals with Africa’s problems from an office in Ireland. In any case, the tweet would request a letter from this court. The State is deliberately lying and misleading this court.”

The journalist said the State was prejudicing him by keeping him on remand. He said the clerk of court was still also holding on to his passport and the title deeds to his property worth US$500 000.

“This is political persecution on my person. I report to the police once every month and the clerk of court is holding my passport and title deeds to my property worth US$500 000. They are affecting me because my work is international. I failed to travel for work purposes due to these cases of which two were thrown out by the High Court,” Chin’ono said.

He said if removed from remand, the State could always summon him to court since he had travelled two times to South Africa and France.

Mambanje postponed the ruling to Tuesday next week.

  • Follow Desmond on Twitter @DChingarande