Zimbabwe sect leader accused of child abuse is denied bail

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NORTON, Zimbabwe (Reuters) – The leader of a religious sect in Zimbabwe was denied bail on Tuesday after being arrested last week for suspected child abuse when police found 251 minors working on his farm and 16 graves.

Ishmael Chokurongerwa, 56, described by police as a “self-styled prophet” appeared in court in the town of Norton near the capital Harare on Tuesday along with seven of his church members who also face charges. They were not asked to plead.

Denying them bail, Norton magistrate Christine Nyandoro argued that Chokurongerwa could use his influence to interfere with witnesses and that there would be a public outcry if he was released.

The suspects have been charged with violating the Burial and Cremation Act and the Children’s Act, after police found 251 school-age children doing manual labour at their farm, as well as 16 unregistered graves.

Content retrieved from: https://www.aol.com/news/zimbabwe-sect-leader-accused-child-113459084.html.

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