24 September 2017

Zimbabwe: Mawarire Locked Up Indefinitely After Charged With Subverting Govt, Lawyer to Appeal to High Court Monday

PASTOR Evan Mawarire was Sunday afternoon charged with subverting a constitutional government before being locked up indefinitely, his lawyer told New Zimbabwe.

The charges emanated from a video the cleric circulated on Saturday on social media over Zimbabwe's worsening economic crisis.

In his video clip, Mawarire said, "Things in Zimbabwe have become very urgent."

He added: "We've begun to experience what we experienced in 2008. The shortages have begun to happen. In a normal nation people shouldn't be panicking at all. We're supposed to be at peace in our country," he said.

Mawarire also urged the police not to arrest him during the hour-long video post, saying he had the constitutional right to address citizens over the economic crisis.

Harrison Nkomo of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights told New Zimbabwe Saturday evening that on Monday he was going to approach the High Court and appeal against his client's indefinite detention.

"They have locked him up and have not given us a date to appear before the court and tomorrow I am going with him to the High court where we would make an appeal," said Nkomo.

Mawarire was arrested during a sermon by armed police officers on Sunday.

The cleric is currently on trial for addressing the University of Zimbabwe students in July who were demonstrating against fee hikes.

His arrest will, to many, appear to be President Robert Mugabe's defiance against the US government which condemned the pastor's incarceration saying it was "monitoring" his trial.

The US embassy in Harare said Mawarire's trial was an infringement on freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly, urging Harare to stop arresting people for political reasons.

Ahead of the embassy statement, Mawarire had urged Zimbabwean youths to do a David Goliath act on Mugabe. He was addressing youths at a Harare meeting.

Ironically, that same Thursday evening, Mugabe was railing at US President Donald Trump, accusing him of being a "Giant Gold Goliath" seeking the "extinction of other nations".

Mawarire got into the limelight in 2016 when he launched his ThisFlag campaign urging patriotic Zimbabwean to demand their rights. He was to be arrested and brought before the courts where he was freed on charges of seeking to overthrow a constitutionally elected government.

That was after he had organised and led a successful stay away termed Shut down Zimbabwe. He was to skip the country to the USA via South Africa and returned in 2017 only to be arrested upon his arrival at the Harare International Airport.

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