Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Breaking News - Pastor Evan Mawarire not guilty

Pastor Evan Mawarire's case has taken a dramatic turn at 7pm after the presiding magistrate breathed fire at the police and the state whom he accused of violating the constitution in arresting Pastor Evan Mawarire.


The #ThisFlag leader was released from remand cells by the magistrate this evening and has been 'declared' a law-abiding citizen. Both the first charge of incitibng violence and that of treasobn have all been nullified by the magistrate.

Pastor Evan Mawarire, leader of the #ThisFlag protest movement that spearheaded last week's largely successful nationwide 'stay-away day', has appeared at the Magistrates court in the Zimbabwean capital of Harare. It was revealed the authorities have changed the charge against Mawarire to "subverting a constitutional government" from the earlier charge of inciting violence.

The #ZimShutDown2016 civilian-led demonstrations, a rarity in Zimbabwe where activists are routinely targeted by the authorities, are promoted with the hashtag #ThisFlag, and described by many as the most subversive movement in Zimbabwe's recent history.
Breaking News - Pastor Evan Mawarire not guilty
There was a heavy anti-riot police presence at the Magistrates Court, outside which hundreds of people sat and erupted into songs in support of the pastor, who arrived in court just after 11.20am local time in a white Corolla with tinted windows before he was whisked through a back entrance.

Over 100 human rights lawyers showed up in solidarity with Mawarire, but only half were allowed inside the full court.

In a series of twists, the defence counsel first told the court the investigating officer had left bail-opposing affidavits at home and was going back to fetch them – effectively delaying the court hearing.

Then, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) spokesman Kumbirai Mafunda announced the authorities had amended charges pressed against Mawarire to subverting a constitutional government in contravention of Section 22 (2) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

The pastor's lawyer, Harrison Nkomo, later accused the court of "unprofessionalism", in light of the change of charges – which lawyers say is unconstitutional.

Nkomo said Mawarire was unlawfully in court after having been "abducted".

Nkomo alleged police had misled the magistrate to get a search warrant after it emerged that police had searched the pastor's home.

On the day of his arrest, 12 July, Mawarire was not carrying his mobile phone, which is what sources at the station said the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) wants access to, as most of the campaign is organised on social media and instant messaging app, WhatsApp.

It has now emerged that police have allegedly seized his mobile phone during a search of his residence after his arrest, sources close to the investigation were quoted as saying by Zimbabwe's independent Newsday newspaper.

Meanwhile, there was ululation and joy unstoppable this evening at about 7pm when it was announced that Pastor Evan had been found NOT guilty. A video showing hundreds of people singing and praising God has since been published. Jovial protesters who braced the cool weather in solidarity could be heard singing "Ichokwadi Mwari variko (Surely there's a living God)"
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