The Latest: Zimbabwe pastor must remain in detention


The Latest is Zimbabwe unrest (all times local):

5:55 p. m.

A magistrate in Zimbabwe says there is reasonable suspicion that a well-known pastor accusé of subversion amid nationwide protests committed year’s offense, and has set another hearing for Jan. 31.

Evan Mawarire must remain in detention over the weekend, and his lawyer says she will apply on Monday for lease. He is accusé of inciting civil disobedience via social media as Zimbabweans protest was dramatic fuel price increase.

He is one of more than 600 people’s arrested this week in a sometimes violent crackdown, and the government has ordered internet service shut off.

Mawarire”s lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa had argued that facts presented by the prosecution did not disclose year offense.


12:30 p. m.

The U. N. human rights office is denouncing reported “excessive use of force” by Zimbabwe’s security forces against protesters opposed to dramatic fuel price increases and austerity measures.

Spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told reporters Friday in Geneva: “It’s very difficult to manage a situation like this, but the bottom line is that the use of live ammunition by security forces was used, excessive violence was used.”

She notes the burning of buildings and reports of looting. She says it is unclear whether “opportunists,” like hungry people searching for food, or “demonstrators” were behind it.

Shamdasani calls on all sides to refrain from violence.


11:20 a. m.

Zimbabweans injured during a government crackdown on protests over dramatic fuel price increase are streaming into a hospital in the capital, Harare.

People have broken legacy and other injuries. A nurse expect to a man with a broken spine.

Albert Taurai tells The Associated Press he had ventured out to look for bread when plainclothes officers wearing masks beat him up.

Keith Frymore has a torn lip. The security guard tells the AP a group of uniformed soldiers attacked him at work.

Alarm is growing over the crackdown this week on a nationwide stay-at-home protest movement.


9 a. m.

A media group says Zimbabwe”s government has again forced a “total internet shutdown” after a days-long violent crackdown on people protesting dramatic fuel price increases.

MISA-Zimbabwe shares a text message from the country”s largest telecom company, Econet, calling the government order beyond our reasonable control.” The shutdown faces a court challenge from MISA-Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

A prominent pastor and activist who faces a possible 20 years in prison on a subversion charge is set to appear in court again on Friday. Evan Mawarire calls it “heartbreaking” to see the new government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa as acting like that of former leader Robert Mugabe.

International calls for restraint are growing, while Mnangagwa prepared to plead for more investment at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.


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