The Zimbabwean authorities must drop all politically motivated charges against human rights activist Pastor Evan Mawarire and stop using the criminal justice system to harass and intimidate him for his activism, Amnesty International and Civicus said today after the Harare High Court granted him bail and ordered his release on 9 February.
Upon his return to Zimbabwe last week, he was arrested and charged with subversion and “insulting the national Flag of Zimbabwe” in connection with protests he led in 2016 over corruption and economic decline.
“Pastor Evan Mawarire is being subjected to political persecution through the courts for exercising his freedom of expression. His continued persecution has a chilling effect on peaceful activism in Zimbabwe,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa.
“The release of Pastor Evan Mawarire on bail is not enough, the politically motivated charges against him must be completely withdrawn. The state cannot continue to harass and intimidate him simply for standing up for human rights.”