HARARE – A Zimbabwean court on Friday freed a pastor who was arrested after prophesying that President Robert Mugabe would die on October 17.
High Court judge Justice Priscilla Chigumba granted Remnant Pentecostal Church leader Patrick Mugadza $50 (R660) bail.
The cleric had spent 53 days in detention.
Mugadza was arrested on January 16, and charged with criminal nuisance for prophesying that the Zimbabwean leader would die on October 17 this year.
His lawyers, Obey Shava and Gift Mtisi – from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights – petitioned the High Court seeking their client’s release on bail after Harare magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti on January 19 denied the cleric bail.
In denying Mugadza bail, magistrate Muchuchuti had ruled that the clergyman had a propensity to commit similar offences.
But Shava and Mtisi, in their bail appeal, argued against the ruling, saying the magistrate had “erred and misdirected” herself in denying him bail, since her basis on applied to “serious offences” and those who would have already been convicted.
Chigumba ruled against the lower court’s ruling saying its reason was not compelling enough, and granted the clergyman bail.
Meanwhile, Harare magistrate Lazini Ncube on Friday postponed Mugadza’s trial, who is accused of insulting the national flag, to March 20.
The Remnant Pentecostal Church leader was arrested on November 18 by the police for allegedly wearing the national flag without first seeking permission from authorities.
The prosecution claimed that Mugadza contravened Section 6 of the Flag Act.
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