Zimbabwe

Blasphemy with prison sentencesThe strict authoritarian state which has been dominated by President Mugabe and the ZANU-PF party since independence in 1980 and has frequently abused human rights. Blasphemy is punishable with a prison sentence.

The Zimbabwean constitution references a deity twice within the preamble which affirms “acknowledging the supremacy of Almighty God, in whose hands our future lies” and “imploring the guidance and support of Almighty God”.

Section 42 of the penal code stipulates that “causing offence to persons of a particular religion” which is defined as “any system of beliefs associated with practices of worship that is adhered to by any significant body of persons in Zimbabwe or any other country” may be punished with a significant fine and/or imprisonment for up to one year. This law is explicitly recognised and codified as Blasphemy in the Correspondence of Common Law Crimes with Codified Crimes.

Though this law appears on the statue books there are no available reports of citizens being charged with this specific offence.