16 March 2017

Zimbabwe: Pastor Mawarire Contests Further Remand

POLITICAL activist and cleric Evan Mawarire who is charged with subverting a constitutionally elected government applied Thursday to be removed on remand complaining that the state was taking too long to prosecute him.

Through his lawyers, Harrison Nkomo and Jeremiah Bamu, the #ThisFlag campaign leader asked the court to remove him from remand or to scrap his bail conditions.

Following his arrested upon returning from the United States, the cleric was released on $300 bail coupled with stringent reporting conditions which included surrendering his passport

During Thursday's hearing defence lawyers told court that the cleric wants to be able to visit his family which remains abroad.

Prosecuting, Sebastin Mutizirwa blamed the prosecutor general's (PG) office for the delayed trial.

Mutizirwa told court that the PG was still perusing the docket.

"In addition, issues of his bail are not for this court's jurisdiction. The accused should approach the High Court for bail purposes," he argued.

The prosecutor also argued that it was too early for Mawarire to complain as "he has been on remand for a short period".

"The period is just one month," Mutizirwa told court.

Mawarire was arrested at Harare International Airport on February 2 upon his return from six months' self-imposed exile in the US.

Prosecutors allege that the cleric incited the public to revolt against President Robert Mugabe through public videos circulated on social media.

He is accused of organising demonstrations against Mugabe at the United Nations in New York supposedly in a bid to end the Zanu PF leader's rule illegally.

The court was expected to make its ruling on his application by day end Thursday.

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