• Lexi Ponder

Zimbabwe pastor charged with 'subverting' government

On Sept. 24, 2017, Pastor Evan Mawarire was arrested after uploading videos asking for citizens of Zimbabwe to protest against fuel shortages and the rising prices. At court the next day, Mawarire pleaded not guilty to the "subversion charges launched against him in February." He was scheduled to go again in court on Tuesday to deal with Sunday's charges.

Last year, Mawarire began using social media and the trend of #ThisFlag to help build support. After wrapping himself up in the country's flag, he called out Mugabe's government and the falling economy and corruption in the videos he uploaded. These videos helped to encourage large protests in Zimbabwe.

On July 12, 2016, Mawarire was first arrested for "inciting public violence," but the next day was released due to the court ruling the police had violated his personal rights. He later fled the country but returned about six months later and was arrested again.

According to CNN, Mawarire, "a prominent critic of President Robert Mugabe is facing 20 years in jail if convicted of multiple counts of subverting Zimbabwe's government."

David McQuire, the spokesman for the US Embassy in Harare, said, "The United States is monitoring the trial of Pastor Evan Mawarire, and calls for an end to arbitrary arrests and intimidation for political purposes," according to CNN. "We support freedom of expression and the right of peaceful assembly. We call on the Government of Zimbabwe to respect and to protect the human rights of all persons in Zimbabwe, consistent with international human rights norms."