Pro-democracy activist in Zimbabwe Linda Masarira was finally released from jail late last night following her unlawful detention since July of this year. Mrs. Masarira, a leading voice calling for democratic and economic reforms in Zimbabwe, was arrested in July following a series of protests that rocked the capital city of Harare.
On July 6th, 2016 Mrs. Masarira and 10 other activists were arrested during the #ShutdownZim2016 protest that called for mass peaceful action to implore President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF government to change economic and governance policies.
The judge overseeing the activists’ legal proceedings dismissed charges against all 10, except for Mrs. Masarira. She was held longer than others for failing to show to court, due to a medical problem, following an earlier peaceful demonstration.
Mrs. Masarira’s release from court follows numerous delays intended to lengthen her unlawful detention as punishment. On September 21st, she was unable to be released from detention because the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) failed to bring her to court.
On September 27th, the judge overseeing her case failed to show in the morning and Mrs. Masarira was nowhere in sight, a SaharaReporters correspondent at the courthouse can authoritatively report.
She was also placed in detention at a male prison in Zimbabwe, allegedly because she was trying to mobilize a riot in the women’s facility.
While Mrs. Masarira was placed in detention the Zimbabwe government banned all protests in Harare in attempt to stave off alternative views to their wildly unpopular policies and decisions.