Zim pastor Mawarire released

2016-07-13 20:01


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Harare - A court in Zimbabwe on Wednesday freed a pastor who organised the largest nationwide strike against the government in nearly a decade, ruling that police violated his rights.

Magistrate Vakayi Chikwekwe told a packed courtroom that the decision to bring new charges in court against Evan Mawarire was unconstitutional.

Mawarire was originally charged with inciting violence when he was arrested on Tuesday, but prosecutors just before his court appearance on Wednesday changed it to more serious charges of attempting to overthrow a constitutionally elected government.

Mawarire's lawyer protested that the last-minute change was unconstitutional and the magistrate agreed.

Hundreds of singing supporters greeted Mawarire's release.

Job boycott

Dozens of supporters who packed the courtroom's public gallery had laughed in derision when the prosecutor announced the new charges, which could have brought Mawarire 20 years in prison.

During the day, hundreds of supporters outside the Harare Magistrates Court, many wearing the Zimbabwe flag, sang in defiance. Activists also chanted slogans and prayed.

Riot police and water cannons and riot police surrounded the court.

Mawarire came to prominence with a social media campaign called #ThisFlag in which he urged Zimbabweans to reclaim their flag by urging President Robert Mugabe's government to properly manage the country's battered economy.

Many people answered Mawarire's call on social media last week for a job boycott to protest dismal economic conditions. It was the largest such boycott in Zimbabwe in nearly a decade.

Another boycott had been called for Wednesday, but the response appeared muted. The government has warned organisers of further protests that "they will face the full wrath of the law."

Read more on:    evan mawarire  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.