The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) condemns the arrest during a church service in Milton Park and detention at Harare Central Police station of Pastor Evan Mawarire, the leader of His Generation Church, on Sunday, September 24, 2017.
Mawarire was set to appear in court on Monday, September 25, 2017.
The Christian religious leader Mawarire is facing charges of subverting a constitutionally elected government over a video he allegedly circulated on Saturday, September 23, 2017, on social media urging Zimbabweans to resist the government’s failed economic policies.
Mawarire is the founder of #ThisFlag campaign, which since 2016 has rallied citizens to peacefully express their displeasure with government policies and ask the authorities to urgently solve the mounting socio-economic challenges in Zimbabwe.
ZimRights strongly condemns the arrest and infringement on the liberty of the cleric for exercising his constitutional and fundamental human rights to freedom of speech and to peacefully protest.
The government is urged to stop the arbitrary arrest of human rights activists, and habitual use of the law to persecute and silence its critics, but to listen to the concerns of the citizens regarding the challenges that are facing the country.
Such actions as the arrest and detention on Sunday of Mawarire by the authorities soil the country’s human rights record and show a concerning disregard for the constitution and its provisions for civil liberties.
ZimRights therefore urges the government to respect Pastor Mawarire’s freedoms and to uphold the constitution of Zimbabwe at all times.