Amnesty International call for release of #Thisflag pastor
Mawarire was arrested on Monday at the University of Zimbabwe while praying with medical students engaged in a protest over academic fees.
“The latest arrest of Pastor Evan Mawarire is unfortunately a classic case of history repeating itself‚” said Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa‚ Belinda Moses.
Mawarire was charged with subversion and “insulting the national flag of Zimbabwe” in January. He was also arrested in 2016 and charged with incitement to commit public violence after leading a national strike. A magistrate found his arrest to be unconstitutional‚ dismissed the charge and he was released.
“His arrest unfortunately shows that he continues to be targeted by a government hell-bent on criminalizing him for exercising his rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly‚” said a statement by Moses.
“Pastor Evan Mawarire is a prisoner of conscience held solely for the peaceful exercise of his rights. He must be immediately and unconditionally released.”
The activist has led several anti-government protests against corruption‚ human rights violations and the declining economy in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) reported yesterday that medical students protested “over misunderstandings regarding the issue of their academic fees” and later started throwing stones‚ “a behaviour the university does not tolerate”.