By Sukuoluhle Ndlovu
The Zimbabwe Prisons Correctional Services (ZPCS) has denied arrested journalist, Hopewell Chin’ono and Transform Zimbabwe leader, Jacob Ngarivhume privacy with their legal teams.
This Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) expressed worry over how the duo is being treated in prison.
Chin’ono and Ngarivhume who were denied bail are currently detained at Chikurubi Maximum Prison after being transferred from remand.
The two are facing charges of inciting public violence.
“When Chin’ono and Ngarivhume’s lawyers visited their clients on Saturday 8 August 2020, they were denied access to consult the two prisoners in private with ZPCS insisting that they be present during any consultations or be within earshot of the discussions involving the two detainees.
The ZPCS officials did not entertain any arguments by the lawyers. But the prison officers advised Chin’ono and Ngarivhume’s lawyers that they had direct orders not to allow lawyers to consult with clients if they could not hear the discussions and that section 140 (6) of the Commissioner Generals standing order Part V11 Visits and Communication does not allow this,” ZLHR said.
The transfer of the two to Chikurubi Maximum Prison was not communicated to their lawyers.
“Chin’ono and Ngarivhume’s lawyers only came to know of the transfer of their clients late on Friday 7 August 2020 after they learnt from independent sources that the duo had been strip searched, shackled in leg irons and eventually moved at night to Chikurubi maximum prison. The transfer had not been communicated formally to Chin’ono and Ngarivhume’s legal practitioners,” ZLHR noted.
It is said the officer in charge of Harare Remand Prison confirmed to the legal practitioners that he had received instructions from above pertaining the transfer.
They are being represented by ZHLR lawyers, Roselyn Hanzi, Beatrice Mtetwa and Moses Nkomo.