Zimbabwe Sect Leader Charged With Child Abuse, Denied Bail


The leader of a religious sect in Zimbabwe, Ishmael Chokurongerwa has been denied bail after his arrest last week for suspected child abuse.

Ishmael Chokurongerwa was charged with exploiting minors after police found 251 children working on his farm. Unregistered graves, believed to be of infants, were also found.

The self-proclaimed Apostolic prophet appeared in court in the town of Norton near the capital Harare on Tuesday, alongside seven of his church members.

They were not asked to plead, Reuters news agency reported.

The court ruled that Chokurongerwa could use his influence to interfere with witnesses if granted bail and that there would be a public outcry if he was released.

The suspects, who were charged with violating children’s rights and contravening burial and cremation laws, will remain in custody until next month when the next hearing is scheduled.