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ICC Note

A Pastor in Zimbabwe is being harassed and arrested for calling on Christians and people in his country to peacefully protest the Mugabe government, which has been in power since the 1980’s. The government is trying to convince people that he is the next leader of a group comparable to Boko Haram. They are saying that he is brainwashing other Christians and that he is calling for violence. These claims have been disputed, as the pastor has posted numerous videos online where he specifically calls for no violence. This harassment by the central government appears to be to stop any opposition from being raised against them. 

 

2017-10-02 Zimbabwe (News24) A key state witness has likened Zimbabwe protest pastor Evan Mawarire to a leader of Nigeria’s militant Islamist terror group Boko Haram.

Mawarire went on trial this week at the Harare High Court on charges of subversion for calling for peaceful anti-government protests last year.

“These terrorist-like groups do not just start. It is just like the Boko Haram system,” said Martin Runganga, a detective in the Criminal Investigations Department.

“The accused person started by opening a church where he is brainwashing his congregants,” he said, in comments carried by NewZimbabwe.com.

Mawarire, who is head of a small church in Harare, shot to prominence last year when he posted a video to Facebook of himself draped in the Zimbabwe flag, voicing his frustrations about the economic hardships and hopelessness facing many Zimbabweans.

He helped to organise a massive stay-at-home protest last July, which shut down towns and cities across the country. He was arrested and detained but later freed. The state pressed fresh charges against him in February on his return from exile in the US. For his trial, the state is relying heavily on the Facebook videos. So far four witnesses have testified against him. Defence lawyer Harrison Nkomo this week challenged state lawyers to point out where Mawarire advocates violence. He said Mawarire had in fact repeated several times in the videos that there should be no violence.

“If someone says no violence why are you fishing for what he said?” the lawyer asked.

Mawarire was arrested last Sunday on separate charges but released on a technicality on Tuesday.

 

 

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