A Pastor in Zimbabwe has been arrested for trying to hold peaceful protests against the Mugabe government. Mugabe has been the president of Zimbabwe since 1987, and was the prime minister for the seven years prior to that. This means that he has been in power over the country for nearly 40 years. In his time as president, he has been very controversial as he has led to the independence of his nation, but also deaths of civilians and opposition. This has led some like pastor Evan Mawarire to try and protest what has become a totalitarian regime. He is now looking at a possible 20 year jail sentence for merely calling on fellow believers to peacefully protest against the government.
2017-09-27 Zimbabwe (ChristianTimes) Zimbabwe protest pastor Evan Mawarire appeared at a Harare court on Monday to face multiple subversion charges stemming from protests last year against President Robert Mugabe’s regime.
The pastor pleaded not guilty to two counts of subverting the government and incitement to cause public violence, Agence France Presse reported.
He is facing a sentence of up to 20 years in prison if convicted, and he could face another trial even if he is acquitted.
Mawarire, the founder of the ThisFlag protest movement, was arrested on Sunday at his Harare church after he appeared in a live Facebook video chat on Saturday evening, urging citizens to participate in a non-violent protest against the government. He has been charged with another count of subverting the government, following the arrest.
On Monday, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) denounced the arrest, saying it is an “infringement on the liberty of the cleric for exercising his constitutional and fundamental human rights to freedom of speech and to peacefully protest.”
“The government is urged to stop the arbitrary arrest of human rights activists, and habitual use of the law to persecute and silence its critics,” the group added.
During Monday’s trial, state prosecutor Chris Mtungadura contended that Mawarire’s social media posts were aimed at inciting citizens to overthrow the government. But defense lawyer Harrison Nkomo insisted that the pastor was not breaking any laws.