Zimbabwean activist Evan Mawarire found not guilty of subversion



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Photo: The Standard

Pastor anti Mugabe Evan Mawarire (archive photo).

Evan Mawarire had faced up to 20 years in prison for organizing last year's #ThisFlag protests. In the courtroom, Mawarire encouraged President Mnangagwa to exercise judicial independence.

On Wednesday, the Zimbabwe court declared a pastor of Evan Mawarire innocent for subversion. The 40-year-old activist urged the new administration under President Emmerson Mnangagwa to abandon other cases similar to his own.

"If they [the new government] do what [ex-President] the government of Robert Mugabe did to us, we will do the same thing that we did to Robert Mugabe," Mawarire told reporters in the courtroom.

"This could be evidence of a freer Zimbabwe, but this case had no legs to sustain itself, I think it takes much more to be seen to determine if this is a free judiciary in the future."

Mawarire He jumped to the international promise last year as the leader of the #ThisFlag protest movement against the Mugabe government, the biggest protests Zimbabwe had seen in more than a decade. [19659008] Superior Court Judge Priscilla Chigumba said that the state had not provided sufficient evidence to show that Mawarire had incited people to public violence or promoted the alteration of the country's democracy.

"He urged the pbadive resistance, he urged to pray for peace … praye rs for peace is considered an unconstitutional means of eliminating a constitutional government?" Chigumba said that

Mawarire had faced up to 20 years in prison if he was found guilty.

Amnesty International expressed cautious optimism in a statement, describing Mawarire as "an innocent victim of Mugabe's ruthless campaign to criminalize dissent"

"" Amnesty's director for southern Africa, Deprose Muchena, said [19659012]. However, despite Wednesday's verdict, Mugabe's agent and former Amnesty agent for southern Africa said he hopes for a new start for the country. Deputy Mnangagwa is not a new face in politics.

Voting rights extended

In a separate ruling on Wednesday, a court extended voting rights to so-called "foreigners": children of foreign parents born in Zimbabwe. The move could be a decisive blow for the ZANU-PF party in Mnangagwa, which many immigrants say deliberately prevented them from voting.

"They are Zimbabwean by birth and should not be discriminated against," Judge Nyaradzo Munangati Manongwa said according to the German news agency DPA.

According to the main MDC opposition party, there are around 2 million "foreigners" in Zimbabwe who can now vote in the country's general elections set for 2018.

(AP, dpa, Reuters)

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