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Zimbabwe High Court Releases Pastor Evan Mawarire

Pastor Evan Mawarire before appearing in court.
Pastor Evan Mawarire before appearing in court.

The High Court on Tuesday released Pastor Evan Mawarire of #ThisFlag movement, who was arrested Sunday, for urging Zimbabweans to rise up and fight against the deteriorating economic situation in the country.

Mawarire's attorney Harrison Nkomo said charges laid against him defied logic.

Speaking to reporters outside the High Court in Harare, Nkomo said, "The state intended to place Evan Mawarire on remand but the court refused on the basis that there was a violation of his constitutional rights, which basically was for him to appear before a competent court within a period of 48 hours. They delayed by three hours and the court rejected to participate in an illegal process.

“He’s free … If the state wants to try him they should send summons upon him on the same charge and then invite him to the High Court for trial but they cannot detain him in custody.

Asked if he was happy about the outcome of the court case, Nkomo said, "l don’t think that I am happy, we were not supposed to be here in the first place. If you look at the charge laid against him, totally nothing is incriminating."

The state claimed that his utterances in a video posted on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter undermined the sitting government as he attacked the ruling elite for causing economic problems faced by most Zimbabweans.

In similar charges laid against him following nationwide protests he masterminded last year in conjunction with Tajamuka Sesijikile Campaign, the state claimed that Mawarire allegedly attempted to subvert a constitutionally-elected government and incite public violence by leading public protests and making stinging remarks about the deteriorating economic situation in Zimbabwe through social media.

Zimbabweans are currently buying goods in bulk following reports that they are expected to be in short supply due to the deteriorating economic situation in the country.

Fuel shortages have hit some towns and cities amid reports of steep price increases.

The government has threatened to take stern measures against people allegedly spreading propaganda about price hikes and shortages of basic commodities.