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Zimbabwe: Dropping of Pastor Mawarire charges must signal fresh start for Zimbabwe

    November 29, 2017

    In response to the dropping of subversion charges against Zimbabwean Pastor and activist, Evan Mawarire, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa, Deprose Muchena, said:

    “The dismissal of this case affirms Amnesty’s long-held position that Pastor Mawarire was an innocent victim of Mugabe’s ruthless campaign to criminalize dissent.

    “Hopefully the ruling signals a new beginning for the country, where the political repression which characterized Mugabe’s rule will no longer be tolerated.

    “The task for President Mnangagwa now is to ensure that a culture exists in Zimbabwe in which voices from outside his government are free to air their opinions on an equal platform, without fear of facing criminal charges.”

    Background

    Pastor Evan Mawarire was arrested and charged with subversion and “insulting the national flag of Zimbabwe” on 31 January 2017. He was later released on USD 300 bail.

    Founder of the #Thisflag movement, he led several anti-government protests in 2016 against corruption, human rights violations and the declining economy in the country.

    He was previously arrested on 12 July 2016 and charged with incitement to commit public violence after leading a national strike on 6 July. He was then released after a magistrate found his arrest to be unconstitutional and dismissed the charge against him.

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    Media contact: Jacob Kuehn, Media Relations at (613) 744-7667 ext 236 or jkuehn@amnesty.ca