Evan Mawarire, the protest pastor arrested in Harare as he returned from exile in the US this week, is being held in a maximum security prison, one of his lawyers said on Saturday.
The #ThisFlag movement founder “has been classified as a ‘D’ Class remand prisoner and is being detained at Chikurubi Prison where convicted murderers are held instead of the normal remand holding center”, Fadzayi Mahere said on Facebook.
The father-of-three was denied bail when he was brought to court on Friday and remanded in custody until February 17. He has been charged with trying to overthrow President Robert Mugabe’s government and insulting the national flag.
A wildly popular figure before he fled into exile last July, Mawarire has come in for criticism from disappointed Zimbabweans who feel he left them and the #ThisFlag movement in the lurch – even though it later emerged that Mawarire’s wife was pregnant.
Lawyer Mahere said: “Do we hold onto disappointment that he chose family over fame – or do we rally behind what his incarceration represents for us as a country?” Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has called the pastor’s arrest callous.