Press release July 20, 2020
Zimbabwe: Freedom House Condemns Arrests of Journalist and Opposition Activist
The detentions fit a recent pattern of abductions and detentions targeting government critics.
In response to the arrests of renowned journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and Jacob Ngarivhume, leader of the opposition party Transform Zimbabwe, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“The arrest and detention of Hopewell Chin’ono and Jacob Ngarivhume is yet another brazen attempt by the government of Zimbabwe to prevent citizens from exercising their fundamental rights and block journalists from doing their job,” said Jon Temin, director of Africa programs at Freedom House. “Abductions, arrests, and detentions have become the norm, with the security forces enjoying impunity as they harass and abuse government critics. We call on the Zimbabwean authorities to immediately release the two men and drop all charges against them.”
The arrests come ahead of national demonstrations against corruption, led by civil society organizations, scheduled for July 31. Police today raided the home of Hopewell Chin’ono in Harare and later took him into custody. Chin’ono has reported extensively on government corruption and the political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe. Police arrested Jacob Ngarivhume separately the same day. Both men have reportedly been charged with incitement to commit public violence under the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act. Also on July 20, police visited the home of Job Sikhala, a member of Parliament and vice chairperson of the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change–Alliance, but he was not present at the time.
Zimbabwe is rated Partly Free in Freedom in the World 2020 and Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2019.
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