'They tried to crush her spirit': Anti-Mugabe activist ordered freed after 82 days in custody

Harare - Critics of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe have been celebrating a court order for the release of an anti-government activist who has been in custody for nearly 12 weeks.

But there are loud questions as to why mother-of-five Linda Masarira of the Tajamuka [We are Agitated] protest movement was kept inside a maximum security prison for so long.

 She was arrested on July 6 in Harare. Lawyers have been trying to get her freed ever since. 

Masarira has not been tried or convicted of a crime. But her case has been complicated by a warrant of arrest issued against her in the eastern city of Mutare on June 6, when she did not turn up for a court hearing on a different matter. 

She says she was in hospital on that day receiving treatment for a dislocated finger sustained during a police beating. 

She's been seen in court recently with bandages on her hand.

Thelma Chikwanha of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said on Facebook on Monday: "Justice [David] Mangota has ordered the release of Linda Masarira who has been in custody since her arrest on 6 July."

"Great stuff," commented former finance minister and opposition leader Tendai Biti on Twitter.

Pastor Mawarire, who was arrested on July 12 for organising a stayaway and is now living in exile, tweeted: "Victory is not only Linda's release. It is that she still stands strong coz they tried 2 crush her spirit. Welcome home @lilomatic #ThisFlag".

David Coltart, Zimbabwe's former education minister, wrote on Facebook: "This is another example of law being used as a weapon against those who oppose this corrupt and ruthless regime."

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