Urgent Action Update: Zimbabwe Human Rights Defender Out On Bail (Zimbabwe: UA 169/16)

Urgent Action
February 10, 2017
Pastor Evan Mawarire, a human rights defender and leader of the #ThisFlag movement in Zimbabwe has been granted bail by the High Court. He is expected to stand trial for the charges against him. Amnesty International is concerned that Pastor Evan Mawarire’s charges are an attempt to intimidate him and prevent his human rights work. 
Evan Mawarire has been released after the High Court granted him bail on 8 February. He was brought to court for the first time on 3 February since his arrest on 1 February upon arrival at Harare International Airport. The magistrate presiding in his case denied his bail application and instead recommended that he apply for bail through the High Court. The magistrate had also recommended that he be placed in remand until 17 February when trial is supposed to begin.
According to his lawyer, nine members of the Central Intelligence Organisation at the airport arrested Evan, a pastor, human rights defender and leader of #ThisFlag movement, was initially charged under Section 22 of the Criminal Procedure Act, for ‘subverting a constitutionally elected government’. The maximum sentence for this charge is 20 years in prison without the option of a fine. The police, on 2 February, added another charge of ‘insulting the flag of Zimbabwe’ under section 6 of the Flag of Zimbabwe Act. 
#ThisFlag is an independent social media movement that staged a national stay-away in Zimbabwe on 6 July 2016 in protest against deteriorating socio-economic conditions. Evan was previously arrested on 12 July 2016 and charged with ‘incitement of public violence’ under Section 36 of the Criminal Law Act in relation to the national stay-away.  The police had continued to look for him even after he was released last year, when charges against him were dropped. Evan fled to the USA in July 2016 for fear of his safety and recently decided to return back home. 
Amnesty International believes that the charges against Evan are intended to obstruct his work as a human rights defender and adds to the growing trend by the state to harass and intimidate activists and human rights defenders. 
Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:
  • Urging the Zimbabwean authorities to drop all charges against Evan Mawarire, as he has been charged solely for the peaceful exercise of his rights as enshrined in the Zimbabwe constitution and regional and human rights law and standards;
  • Calling on the Zimbabwean authorities to ensure the criminal justice system is not misused to target or harass human rights defenders;


Contact these two officials by 24 March, 2017:

His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe
Robert G. Mugabe
Office of the President
Munhumutapa Building
Samora Machel Avenue
Harare, Zimbabwe
Salutation: Your Excellency
Ambassador Mr. Ammon Machingambi Mutembwa
Embassy of Zimbabwe
1608 New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009
Phone: 202-332-7100
Fax: 202-483-9326
Salutation: Dear Ambassador
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