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Mnangagwa told to stop persecuting journos, activists

by Staff reporter
23 Oct 2021 at 05:36hrs | Views
THE American Bar Association Centre for Human Rights (ABACHR) has called out President Emmerson Mnangagwa for "abusing the criminal justice system to persecute government critics" and demanded that his government repeals repressive laws that stifle freedom of expression.

The ABACHR urged government to drop charges against journalist Hopewell Chin'ono and stop prosecuting human rights defenders (HRDs) and other critics in line with constitutional provisions which speak to freedom of expression and association.

It made the recommendations in a latest report titled The Persecution and Prosecutions of Hopewell Chin'ono Suppression of Freedom of Expression and Fair Trial Rights in Zimbabwe. The report was prepared by the staff and consultants of the ABACHR.

"The report ends with recommendations to the government of Zimbabwe to respect freedom of expression, association, assembly, and the right to participate in public affairs in the country. It further calls on the authorities to: Immediately and unconditionally drop all the criminal charges against Mr Chin'ono," the report reads.

"His continued persecution and prosecution is a violation of his right to freedom of expression and participation in matters of public interest."

Chin'ono has received threats from suspected State agents, arrested multiple times, and spent a collective 84 days in pre-trial detention in a maximum-security prison.

He currently faces three separate criminal proceedings and a possible 26 years in prison.

"Refrain from using the judicial apparatus to harass and intimidate journalists, HRDs, and others, ensuring all arrested and detained persons have their due process rights respected and protected," the ABACHR added.

"Put in place freedom of expression policies and promotional campaigns to make it clear that the authorities are committed to respecting and protecting the right of all to peacefully express their opinion, especially given the extent and gravity of the violations of the right to freedom of expression in recent times."

Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa promised to respond to emailed questions, but had not done by the time of going to print last night.

Source - NewsDay Zimbabwe