APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) Zimbabwe opposition politician Job Sikhala was released from prison on Tuesday after a court handed him a suspended sentence for allegedly inciting violence two years ago.
Sikhala, a vocal government critic and former member of parliament, was last week found guilty of inciting public violence last week but was handed a suspended two-year jail term when the magistrate passed judgement on Tuesday.
The magistrate took into account the long time the politician had spent in remand prison while awaiting finalisation of his case. He was incarcerated for nearly 600 days without bail in a case the opposition said was politically motivated.
Seen by many as the face of resistance to Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party, Sikhala was arrested in June 2022 following the murder of an opposition activist.
He was accused of using social media to encourage opposition supporters to violently respond to the death of the activist.
Sikhala denied the charges, saying that he was simply acting as the family’s lawyer and helping them try to find Ali.
In a message posted on X on Wednesday, Sikhala thanked his supporters and other well-wishers for the moral and other forms of support rendered to himself and his family.
“For nearly two years, I suffered in my oppressors’ prison. You prayed for me to be released from the jaws of my tormentors. You made loud clamours for my release as you know that I was innocent,” he said.
Another opposition former member of parliament, Godfrey Sithole, was also found guilty on the same charges and released together with Sikhala.