Zimbabwean pastor Phillip Mugadza has failed in his bid to get the country’s top court to throw out charges against him for prophesying that President Robert Mugabe will die later this month.
Chief Justice Luke Malaba said the process which led to the case being brought before the Constitutional Court was flawed.
The case would now return to the magistrates court, where Pastor Mugadza – the leader of The Remnant Church – has been charged with “causing offence to persons of a particular race and religion or alternatively causing criminal nuisance”.
He got into trouble after predicting in January that Mr Mugabe, 93, would die on 17 October.
At the time of his arrest, his lawyer Gift Mtisi told the BBC:
“He’s admitting to the facts. He says he didn’t lie – that’s a message from God. Police will have to prove God didn’t say it.”
Pastor Mugadza’s lawyers asked the Constitutional Court to throw out the charges on the grounds that they violated his right to free speech.
The prosecution alleges that the pastor insulted the Christian religion and African tradition by predicting Mr Mugabe’s death.
Predicting the death of a leader is taboo, according to traditional beliefs.