NEWS: Zimbabwe
writer found guilty in banner protest

Promi­nent Zim­bab­wean author Tsit­si Dan­garem­b­ga has been found guilty of incit­ing vio­lence while hold­ing a ban­ner call­ing for polit­i­cal reform.

The judge said the protest may have agi­tat­ed oth­ers and caused a vio­la­tion of the peace.

Dan­garem­b­ga paid a fine of around $110 (£100) and was spared three months in prison.

She plead­ed not guilty at the tri­al, which has been crit­i­cized as the lat­est sign of the gov­ern­men­t’s crack­down on dissidents.

Out­side the court­room, she told the BBC she was not sur­prised by her conviction.

In Zim­bab­we, she said, “the spaces for free speech and media free­dom are get­ting small­er and more crim­i­nal­ized,” she said, adding that she plans to appeal the verdict.

When Pres­i­dent Emer­son Mnan­gag­wa came to pow­er in 2017, he promised to intro­duce reforms after decades of repres­sive rule by his pre­de­ces­sor Robert Mugabe, but crit­ics say lit­tle change. say no.

Dan­garen­buga is one of Zim­bab­we’s most famous writ­ers. Her nov­el This Mourn­able Body was short­list­ed for the 2020 Book­er Prize.

Con­vict­ed along with her friend Julie Barnes.

Two years ago, they walked the streets of the cap­i­tal Harare car­ry­ing plac­ards call­ing for polit­i­cal reform and the release of two gov­ern­ment critics.

The court­room held its breath as the two women stood motion­less as they received their sentences.

He was found guilty of incit­ing pub­lic vio­lence and dis­turb­ing pub­lic order and morals.

The judge said they protest­ed on pub­lic roads and the images were shared on social media, poten­tial­ly pro­vok­ing protests from others.

If he repeats the offense with­in the next five years, he will be sen­tenced to six months in prison.

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