A Zimbabwean journalist, Hopewell Chin’ono; has been forcibly arrested by state agents on Monday at his house in the capital Harare.
Local media outlets quoted his lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa as confirming the early morning raid that led to his arrest. The agents reportedly shattered a glass door before picking him up.
He had in the morning tweeted that security agents were harassing his workers. “They are breaking into my home. Alert the world!” his last tweet as at midday July 20 read.
Hopewell is a strong voice in the area of calling out government corruption and excesses. The police has yet to confirm whether they had arrested him and on what charges specifically.
The arrest has triggered a torrent of social media demands from the diplomatic community, human and press rights groups and Zimbabweans asking for his release.
“Allowing journalists to do their work is vital in the fight against corruption. The arrest of Hopewell today is part of a worrying trend against free speech in Zimbabwe,” the Dutch Embassy posted on Twitter.
The US embassy said it was “deeply concerned” for the welfare of the journalist adding that the work of investigative journalists remained pivotal in the fight against corruption. “Political intimidation of the press has no place in democracies,” they added.
Meanwhile, a lawyers group MISA Zimbabwe confirmed that Chin’ono and an activist Jacob Ngarivhume were at the Harare Central police station adding that no charges had been leveled against them.
The activist who is also leader of Transform Zimbabwe movement had recently announced poor governance protests slated for July 31.
Mhike says it seems Jacob Ngarivhume has also been arrested and is also at Harare Central Police station.
— MISAZimbabwe (@misazimbabwe) July 20, 2020
— #ThisFlag E Mawarire (PastorEvanLive) July 20, 2020