MacDonald Dzirutwe of Reuters Africa is reporting a Zimbabwean court has dismissed charges against Evan Mawarire, a religious leader accused of trying to overthrow the government through an internet campaign that inspired rare protests against President Robert Mugabe. He writes:
“Pastor Evan Mawarire appeared in a packed Harare courtroom draped in the Zimbabwean flag after spending the night in police cells as officers searched his house, church and office.
Magistrate Vakayi Chikwekwe said prosecutors presented different charges from those read out to Mawarire when he was arrested.
‘It’s my finding that the National Prosecuting Authority cannot charge the accused for the first time in court without charges being read out to him,’ Chikwekwe told the court.
Mawarire’s lawyer Harrison Nkomo said his client initially faced charges of inciting violence before prosecutors changed the charge to attempting to overthrow the government, which carries up to 20 years in jail in found guilty.
Hundreds of Mawarire’s supporters gathered outside the court, waving the national flag and singing protest songs, as anti-riot police kept a watchful eye.”
Mawarire has called for continued protests.
Read more at Reuters.