HARARE, Zimbabwe — A Zimbabwean judge has acquitted a pastor of charges that he tried to subvert the government of former President Robert Mugabe and invited people to commit violence during large anti-government protests last year.
High Court judge Priscilla Chigumba delivered the ruling on Wednesday, saying the state did not prove its case against pastor Evan Mawarire.
Mawarire says he is “absolutely elated.”
“The whole journey has been absurd,” he says. “I should never have been arrested.”
He urges Zimbabwe’s new President Emmerson Mnangagwa to respect human rights, saying people will protest again if they believe the new government is violating their freedoms.
Last year’s protests were the largest Zimbabwe had seen in a decade.
Mugabe resigned last week after the military moved in and the ruling party turned against him.