Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Charismatic Preacher and #ThisFlag founder Evan Mawarire Arrested At Harare International Airport

Charismatic preacher and #ThisFlag founder, Evan Mawarire surprisingly jetted back into Zimbabwe on Wednesday and was immediately arrested by State security agents at the Harare International airport.

“As soon as he landed, Pastor Mawarire was whisked away by plain clothes detectives as his relatives who had come to welcome him back watched in utter shock,” an alert by the Heal Zimbabwe Trust said.

Human rights lawyer Harrison Nkomo also confirmed that his client was being held at the Harare International airport. “Its true he arrived at the airport and was immediately arrested. I have not been able to see him though and I am still trying,” Nkomo said.

“At some point one has to stop wishing they were home, and actually pack their bags and go home,” Mawarire told the Daily Maverick, in an interview just prior to his return.

“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.

“The president of Zimbabwe made comments to the effect that I was not welcome in Zimbabwe, but he doesn’t get to make that decision for me. I have not committed a crime, I’m not a fugitive, I’m a citizen, and an upstanding citizen for that matter.”

He confirmed to the Daily Maverick earlier today that he was “going home”, admitting he was nervous about what could happen to him when he arrived.

“I arrive at the airport and I get questioned. I arrive at the airport and I get arrested,” he predicted. “[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.”

Mawarire’s sister, Teldah Mawarire, confirmed to The Huffington Post South Africa that her brother left Johannesburg “quietly” earlier today and flew to Harare.

“His flight landed just before 5pm. We understand from his lawyer that he is being held but we have no further information,” Teldah told the paper.

“The infringement of citizens’ rights such as unlawful arrests and detentions are a violation of citizens’ fundamental human rights that are provided for in the constitution,” Heal Zimbabwe Trust said in a statement on Wednesday.

Under the banner of the #ThisFlag campaign, Mawarire led demonstrations for economic and political reform in the country last year. He was arrested and charged with trying to overthrow the government before he was released and the charges were thrown out.
Evan Mawarire
Mawarire eventually fled Zimbabwe in August 2016, first going to South Africa before seeking asylum in the United States. Nehanda Radio
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