Anti-Mugabe protest pastor freed

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Protesters in Zimbabwe gather outside a court in Harare to show their support for protest leader Evan Mawarire after the pastor was charged with attempting to overthrow the government

Magistrate Vakayi Chikwekwe told a packed courtroom that the decision to bring new charges in court against Evan Mawarire was unconstitutional. Picture: AP.

A COURT in Zimbabwe has freed a pastor who organised a nationwide strike against the government, ruling that police violated his rights.

Magistrate Vakayi Chikwekwe told a packed courtroom that the decision to bring new charges in court against Evan Mawarire was unconstitutional.

Police keep guard outside the Harare Magistrates Court in Harare, Wednesday, July 13, 2016. Picture: AP.

Police keep guard outside the Harare Magistrates Court in Harare, Wednesday, July 13, 2016. Picture: AP.Source:AP

Mawarire was originally charged with inciting violence when he was arrested on Tuesday, but prosecutors changed the charge just before his court appearance Wednesday to more serious charges of attempting to overthrow a constitutionally elected government. Mawarire’s lawyer protested that the change in the charges was unconstitutional and the magistrate agreed.

Hundreds of singing supporters are waiting for Mawarire’s release.

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