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Pastor Evan Mawarire Still Locked Up as High Court Postpones His Bail Hearing

FILE - Zimbabwean Pastor Evan Mawarire holds his country's flag before addressing supporters at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, July 28, 2016.

High Court judge Justice Clement Phiri on Tuesday postponed the hearing on a bail application filed by Pastor Evan Mawarire to Wednesday to allow the state to respond to the clergyman’s freedom bid.

According to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), the High Court was initially set to hear Pastor Mawarire’s bail application on Tuesday after his lawyer Harrison Nkomo of ZLHR filed the application on Monday.

But Justice Phiri on Tuesday deferred hearing of the bail application to Wednesday to allow the state, represented by Edmore Nyazamba and Tapiwa Kasema of the National Prosecuting Authority, to file their response.

In his application, Pastor Mawarire asked the High Court to allow him to pay $100 bail, to surrender his passport and to report to Zimbabwe Republic Police officers once a week on Fridays until the matter is finalized.

Pastor Mawarire argued that there is no risk that he will abscond or commit other offences if granted bail.

The clergyman had to petition the High Court for admission to bail after Harare magistrate, Elisha Singano, on Friday remanded him in custody after he dismissed an application filed by his lawyer challenging his placement on remand.

Nkomo had asked Singano to release the clergyman after challenging the state's request to place him on remand.

In his application, Nkomo argued that the arrest and detention of the clergyman was illegal, unlawful and violated his constitutional rights. He also argued that the charges pressed against Pastor Mawarire did not amount to an offence.

But Singano dismissed Pastor Mawarire’s application and remanded him in custody to February 17, 2017. The magistrate advised Pastor Mawarire’s lawyer to approach the High Court for the determination of bail.

Pastor Mawarire is facing charges of subverting a constitutional government as defined in Section 22 (2) (a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23.

He faces up to 20 years in jail if found guilty.

Last Thursday, the ZRP officers added more woes to Pastor Mawarire after they charged him with insulting the national flag in contravention of Section 6 of the Flag of Zimbabwe Act Chapter 10:10 and inciting public violence as defined in Section 36 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23.

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