Zimbabwe: Mawarire Faces Zim Flag Insult Charges

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SOCIAL movement activist and cleric Evan Mawarire, who was arrested on Wednesday by security agents immediately upon arrival at the Harare International Airport after six months in exile, is expected to appear in court today facing fresh charges of “insulting” the Zimbabwean national flag, inciting public violence and subverting a constitutionally-elected government.

Mawarire, who formed #ThisFlag movement after circulating a video expressing his frustration with corruption, poverty and hopelessness, fled to the United States last year after being acquitted on charges of leading a wave of protests which saw government moving in to snoop on internet use.

He was yesterday charged by Harare Central CID Law and Order for contravening Section 6 of the Flag of Zimbabwe Act, Chapter 10:10 from January 2016 to July 2016.

Human rights lawyer and Mawarire’s legal counsel Harrison Nkomo yesterday said his client will appear in court today facing three charges.

“He (Mawarire) will appear at the courts tomorrow (today) on charges that include subverting a constitutionally elected government, abusing the Zimbabwean flag and incitement to commit public violence,” Nkomo said.

According to his warned and cautioned statement, Mawarire said he was being charged for insulting the Zimbabwean flag.

“It is alleged that I insulted the Zimbabwean national flag by using it to brand my politically-motivated criminal activities and each time when I addressed or incited the public or my followers to revolt against a constitutionally-elected government by urging workers not to go to work and carry out demonstrations, I would wear the Zimbabwean national flag in circumstances which were calculated to show disrespect for (the) flag or to bring the Zimbabwean national flag into disrepute in contravention of the said Act,” reads Mawarire’s statement.