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Persecution Of Citizens For Insulting The National Flag Continues

A 25 year-old Zimbabwean man is scheduled to stand trial on Monday 13 March 2017 after he was arrested last week and charged with insulting and disrespecting the country’s national flag.

Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers in Kariba on Wednesday 08 March 2017 arrested 25 year-old Courage Mushunje and charged him with contravening Section 6 of the Flag of Zimbabwe Act Chapter 10:10 after he allegedly insulted and disrespected the flag by keeping on walking when the national flag was being hoisted down at Kariba Border Post.

Mushunje was arrested as he was processing the “clearing” of his two vehicles at Kariba Border Post, which he had brought from Tanzania.

Prosecutors claimed that Mushunje failed to respect the national flag as he kept moving while the national flag was being hoisted down by
Liberty Kahiya, a security guard employed by Sencire Security and despite being given signs to stop and stand at attention as other citizens were doing.

When confronted by an unidentified Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operative on why he was disrespecting the national flag,
Mushunje reportedly told the state security agent not to bother him as the national flag doesn’t belong to him.

Mushunje’s response prompted the complainants who include Kahiya to report the matter at a police station in Kariba resulting in the
arrest of the unemployed Zvishavane resident whom they accused of acting unlawfully.

The 25 year-old Mushunje was granted free bail by Kariba Magistrate Toendepi Zhou after his lawyer Unite Saizi of Saizi Law Chambers, who is a member of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, sought his release from custody.

Magistrate Zhou also ordered the State to furnish the court with a report after investigating some complaints of ill-treatment raised against some ZRP officers by Mushunje.

Mushunje complained that he was harassed, assaulted and kidnapped by some CIO operatives at Kariba Border Post on Tuesday 07 March 2017 and dumped at a nearby bush before he was subsequently arrested on Wednesday 08 March 2017 on allegations of disrespecting the national flag.

The State has lined up two witnesses, Kahiya and Edmore Chiduku, a ZRP officer to testify against Mushunje during trial.

Mushunje becomes the third person to be rescued by ZLHR after being arrested and charged with insulting and disrespecting the national flag after Remnant Pentecostal Church leader Pastor Phillip Mugadza and Pastor Evan Mawarire of the His Generation Church, who were arrested on Friday 18 November 2016 and on Wednesday 01 February 2017.

Prosecutors charged that the two clergymen insulted, showed disrespect and brought the flag into disrepute after they draped themselves with the country’s national flag while protesting against President Robert Mugabe’s government, without first seeking permission from the
country’s authorities.

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