Zimbabwean Vikas Mavhudzi’s one-month ordeal in jail seems to be over… at least for now. A high court judge has granted bail to this man, after he was jailed for Facebook message calling for a social revolution in his country.
The 39-year-old Mavhudzi was arrested last February in the southwestern city of Bulawayo, after posting a message on the Facebook Page of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (featured right), advocating for change within his own country – – in light of the Egyptian revolution. After his arrest, a judge refused to release him on bail because he “posed a threat to public safety.”
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights took Mavhudzi’s case and appealed to high court. That court has granted the man bail.
According to Reporters Without Borders, this is the message Mavhudzi posted on Facebook:
I am overwhelmed… What happened in Egypt is sending shockwaves to dictators around the world. No weapon but unity of purpose worth emulating, hey.
Although the message presumably reached the 60,000 people that like Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s page, it still seems like an overreaction to try to quiet down a man who seems to have no ties to any subversive groups or have any political influence whatsoever. On the contrary, this case is gaining international notoriety and proving that Mavhudzi’s concerns for basic civil rights in his country are not unfounded.
According to the lawyers’ group defending Mavhudzi, a date for the trial has not yet been set.