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Arrested Pastor Evan Mawarire Remanded in Custody

Zimbabwean pastor Evan Mawarire reads a bible as he arrives escorted by detectives at the Harare Magistrates court, Zimbabwe, Feb. 3, 2017.

Detained Zimbabwean minister of religion, Pastor Evan Mawarire, who was arrested Wednesday and is facing charges of subverting a constitutionally-elected government, has been remanded in custody and advised to apply for bail in the High Court.

His attorney, Harrison Nkomo, said Harare magistrate, Elisha Singano, told the court Thursday that they have no jurisdiction over Mawarire’s case, which carries a 20 year-jail term.

“We had actually put a spirited fight to ensure that he is released today … but the magistrate disagreed with us and placed him on remand. What it means is we have to go and apply for bail at the High Court since the magistrates court has no jurisdiction to hear his bail application because the matter that he is facing is a serious one.”

He said Mawarire is facing charges of subverting a constitutionally-elected government. He is accused of using social media to mobilize people to revolt against the government.

He is also accused of denigrating the image of the Zimbabwean government last September in New York where he allegedly organized a massive anti-government protest when President Robert Mugabe was attending the United Nations General Assembly.

Nkomo said his client, who is set to appear in the High Court on Monday, is denying these charges.

Mawarire faced similar charges, which were dropped, before he fled to the United States where he stayed for almost six months.

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