The European Union has condemned the continued incarceration of journalists and opposition leaders in Zimbabwe while describing the poor state of the country’s prisons as ‘death traps’ which can spread COVID-19.
It’s statement follows the arrests and continued detention of journalist Hopewell Chin’ono, MDC Alliance vice-chairperson Job Sikhala, and MDC Alliance party spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere.
In the statement, the European Union said the detention of the trio is ‘questionable’.
“The current pre-trial detentions, delays of proceedings and bail denials without serious charges are questionable, especially in times of COVID-19.
The infection risk in jail is high due to overcrowding and lack of hygiene. We know this because we support prisons through VSO Zimbabwe,” said the EU.
Commenting on the arrests of the trio, Alpha Media Holdings chairperson Trevor Ncube said described Chin’ono’s arrest as “a chilling attack on freedom of expression by the State”.
“That the three have been charged under a law that was struck down by the Constitutional Court in 2014 makes the violation of their rights to free speech even more pernicious” he added.