Mawarire bail application

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Zimbabwean activist pastor Evan Mawarire arrested on charges of subversion amid violent anti-government protests is expected to apply for bail at a High Court hearing.

Security forces dispersed demonstrations by force and cracked down on activists. Protests erupted last week following a hike in fuel prices. Rights groups say a dozen people died in the unrest, though police put the figure at three.

Mawarire is one of more than 100 people who will face trial in the capital as well as second city Bulawayo and two other towns on public order charges, lawyers said.

Mawarire denies accusations his Facebook video encouraging Zimbabweans to heed a strike call by the Zimbabwe Confederation of Trade Unions incited people to violence.

Mawarire is in detention at Chikurubi Maximum Prison in Harare.

Zimbabwe’s independent Human Rights Commission accused security forces of systematic torture. The opposition fears soldiers are able to shoot and kill without being held accountable, after an official inquiry said the army shot civilians to quell post-election violence last August.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who replaced Robert Mugabe and promised to break with his strong-arm politics, this week said security services’ actions against protesters would be investigated.