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Zimbabwe Police Arrest Pastor Evan Mawarire At Harare Airport

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.

Pastor Evan Mawarire of #ThisFlag has been arrested at the Harare International Airport.

Mawarire surprisingly returned to Zimbabwe where he fled following public protests on the deteriorating social and economic situation in the country.

He spearheaded the protests in conjunction with Tajamuka-Sesijikile Campaign, another protest movement comprising various organizations.

According to his close associates, Mawarire was picked up by the police. His lawyer, Harrison Nkomo, and police confirmed that the minister of religion was locked up at the Law and Order Section at Harare Police Station for skipping bail.

FILE: A rioter wearing a police helmet taken from a police officer joins angry protestors in Harare, Monday, July, 4, 2016.
FILE: A rioter wearing a police helmet taken from a police officer joins angry protestors in Harare, Monday, July, 4, 2016.

He has been living in USA since he left the southern African nation a couple of months ago.

Attorney, Doug Coltart, who lives in America said, “Pastor Evan Mawarire was arrested at Harare International Airport upon his arrival in the country from South Africa this afternoon. He was taken into a room for questioning and was then transferred to the Law and Order section of Harare Central Police station in the back of a police truck.

“His lawyer, Harrison Nkomo, followed closely behind the vehicle. He is reportedly being charged with Section 22 of the Criminal Code (subverting a constitutionally elected government) which is the same charge in the matter that was thrown out by the Magistrate's Court in July 2016.”

Section 22 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act stipulates that it is a criminal offence to subvert a constitutionally-elected government by engaging in various activities that are viewed by the state as attempt to remove the government by physical force or violence, threats of boycotts, civil disobedience or resistance to any law.

“… Any person who, whether inside or outside Zimbabwe (a) organizes or sets up, or advocates, urges or suggests the organization or setting up of, any group or body with a view to that group or body (i) overthrowing or attempting to overthrow the Government by unconstitutional means; or (ii) taking over or attempting to take over the Government by unconstitutional means or usurping the functions of the Government; or (iii) coercing or attempting to coerce the Government; or (b) supports or assists any group or body in doing or attempting to do any of the things described in subparagraph (i), (ii) or (iii) of paragraph (a); shall be guilty of subverting constitutional government and liable to imprisonment for a period not exceeding twenty years without the option of a fine.”

These are the same charges Mawarire faced which were dropped before he left Zimbabwe. He is expected to appear in court Thursday.

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