Protect Human Rights Activist from Governmental Harassment

hands-in-chains george hodan

Target: Ignatious Chombo, Minister of Home Affairs

Goal: End the alleged campaign of harassment against human rights activist Evan Mawarire.

Pastor and human rights activist Evan Mawarire has recently been subjected to a campaign of alleged government harassment that included arrest, criminal charges, and being forced into a car against his will. Sign the petition and demand that the government end its campaign against him and protect him from further harassment and threats.

Mawarire gained national attention in Zimbabwe when he called for Zimbabweans to stay away from work for one day to protest government inaction. While the protest was supposed to be peaceful–and was, for the most part–there were some instances of violence. When Mawarire called for a second “stay-away”–this one for two days–he was arrested and charged with “incitement of public violence.” By the time he appeared before a magistrate, the charge had been amended to “subverting a constitutional government,” which carries a minimum sentence of 20 years. A magistrate, however, dismissed the charges against him.

Since Mawarire’s release, his wife has reported seeing police officers driving past the house twice. She says that when they noticed her watching them they drove off. Mawarire has also received death threats over the phone, and prior to his arrest he shared a video on WhatsApp alleging that he was forced into a car by several men.

Human rights defenders have the right to carry out their work free of harassment and threats. Sign the petition and demand that the government stop harassing Evan Mawarire and that it offer him protection in accordance with his wishes.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Minister Chombo,

I am writing to express concern for the safety of pastor and human rights activist Evan Mawarire and his family. I demand that the government end its campaign of harassment against him, and I urge you to offer him protection from further harassment in accordance with his wishes.

Mawarire became the subject of harassment after he organized a national stay-away in which he urged Zimbabweans to stay home from work to protest government inaction. The stay-away was meant to be a peaceful event, and it mostly was, save for pockets of violence here and there.

After the first stay-away, Mawarire called for a second, this one lasting two days. It was at this point he was summoned to the police station and arrested. He was charged initially with “incitement of public violence,” but by the time he appeared before a magistrate the charge had been changed to “subverting a constitutional government,” which carries a minimum sentence of 20 years. The magistrate, however, dismissed the charge.

Since Mawarire’s release, his wife has reported two instances of seeing police drive by the house. She says they drove off when they saw her watching them. Mawarire has also received death threats over the phone, and prior to his arrest he alleged that he was forced into a car by a group of men.

Human rights workers have the right to carry out their work free of harassment and threats. The campaign against Evan Mawarire must end immediately, and the government must offer him protection against harassment from other sources in accordance with his wishes.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: George Hodan

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