A Zimbabwe court has dropped a case against investigative journalist and government critic Hopewell Chin’ono, charged with inciting public violence last year for supporting banned demonstrations on Twitter.
The outspoken, award-winning journalist has been detained three times and spent two months in prison since he backed anti-government protests in July 2020, when he was first arrested and charged.
Two tweets landed him back in jail in November and January, for allegedly obstructing justice and publishing false information.
A high court in the capital Harare dropped the first charge on Monday, citing inexact wording in the charge sheet.
“The evident contradiction between the charge sheet and the state outline vitiates the charge sheet and renders it a nullity,” ruled Judge Siyabona Musithu.
The same court had cleared Chin’ono of publishing false information in April.
“It means my arrest was & my case were trumped up as I have always argued!” Chin’ono tweeted after the ruling.
“I spent the past 15 months in jails and courts for something that I didn’t do! It was cruel and tragic!”
Chin’ono still faces trial for alleged obstruction of public justice for posting a Tweet ahead of a judicial decision in November last year.
He has been freed on bail and banned from using his Twitter account to post anything that might incite the public to revolt against the government.