Human Rights organization, Amnesty International has criticized the Zimbabwean government for the arrest of Pastor Evan Mawarire who faces a possible 20-year jail term.
“The trumped-up charge of subversion brought against Pastor Evan Mawarire this afternoon is absolutely ridiculous and a total sham.
“Coming after a similar charge against him last year, it is designed to make him stop his human rights activism and to punish him for speaking out about the declining human rights situation in Zimbabwe,” Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa, Muleya Mwananyanda said.
Amnesty International called Mawarire a “prisoner of conscience imprisoned solely for the peaceful exercise of his rights.” The organization called for the release of the Pastor Evan Mawarire.
Mawarire was arrested at the Harare airport in Zimbabwe’s capital, upon his return from a six-month-stay in the United States.
Mawarire who was subsequently taken to the Central police station in Harare had predicted what could happen to him upon his return to his home country.
“I arrive at the airport and I get questioned. I arrive at the airport and I get arrested,
“[Or] I arrive at the airport and they ignore me. I go to my house, and they arrest me there a few days later. Or they abduct me, which is even worse. Or maybe they just ignore me completely. I just don’t know what is going to happen.”
When he was questioned on why he is choosing to return to Zimbabwe despite the threat on his life, he said this to the Daily Maverick:
“At some point, one has to stop wishing they were home, and actually pack their bags and go home,
“Zimbabwe is home for me and my family. That’s the place where we have a right to be without acquiring a visa, we are citizens of Zimbabwe.
He concluded that despite Mugabe’s disapproval on the ThisFlag movement, and his call for Mawarire to exit the country if he did not like how things are run, Mugabe does not get to make the decision of staying or not staying in Zimbabwe for him.
According to him, “I have not committed a crime, I’m not a fugitive, I’m a citizen, and an upstanding citizen for that matter.”
He faces a 20-year jail term for allegedly “subverting a constitutionally elected government”.