A Zimbabwean pastor who spoke out against the government and was charged first with inciting violence and then with attempting to overthrow the government, has been acquitted of both charges.
According to ChristianToday.com, Pastor Evan Mawarire triumphantly appeared in court, draped in the Zimbabwean flag, after being acquitted.
Mawarire had been held in a jail cell overnight while authorities searched his house, church, and office.
Mawarire has been a voice for the oppressed in Robert Mugabe’s regime. Last month, Mawarire posted a video that went viral in which he expressed his anger about the current state of affairs in the country. He urged Zimbabweans to hold the government accountable and to protest.
Zimbabwe is suffering from government corruption, high unemployment rates, and a shortage of funds. Many people have withdrawn their money from the banks in fear of the economic crisis.
Protests were scheduled after Mawarire’s arrest, but Amnesty International reported that the government attempted to intimidate protesters.
"Instead of suppressing dissenting voices, Zimbabwean authorities should be listening to protesters like Evan Mawarire," said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International's deputy director for southern Africa.
Mawarire’s supporters responded to his release on Twitter:
Congratulations to the presiding Magistrate in Pastor Evan Mawarire's case today for upholding Zimbabwe's Constitution.— David Coltart (@DavidColtart) July 13, 2016
Publication date: July 14, 2016