United States citizen arrested in Zimbabwe for allegedly insulting Mugabe

Nov 05, 2017, 01:08
United States citizen arrested in Zimbabwe for allegedly insulting Mugabe

An American woman has been arrested in Zimbabwe for allegedly insulting President Robert Mugabe on Twitter.

Police claimed O'Donovan had tweeted, "We are being led by a selfish man and a sick man", and charged her under the country's repressive laws. She later said O'Donovan faced additional charges of subverting a constitutionally elected government.

The court on Saturday dismissed a request by O'Donovan's lawyers to strike down the subversion charge, arguing that police didn't inform her of it when she was arrested Friday morning.

Martha O'Donovan, who appeared in court in the capital Harare, was charged with subversion as well as undermining or insulting Mugabe, now 93. He added that his client had been charged with insulting the president.

"I deny the allegations being leveled against me as baseless and malicious", CNN reported O'Donovan said, according to court papers.

The alleged tweet follows online reports that Mugabe's two sons, Robert Jr and Chatunga, have imported at least one luxury vehicle from neighboring South Africa. Zimbabwe authorities say they believe O'Donovan is the author of the tweet based on her IP address.O'Donovan, who is white, has denied this, and matigary has continued to tweet since O'Donovan was jailed.

O'Donovan's arrest comes a month after Mugabe appointed Patrick Chinamasa as minister of a new cybersecurity ministry targeting crime on social media and other websites.

O'Donovan had been working with local social media outlet Magamba TV, which describes itself as producing "satirical comedy sensations".

O'Donovan was represented by Obey Shava, of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, an organization that often represents activists who are arrested in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe was shaken past year by the biggest anti-government protests in a decade.

The group representing Ms O'Donovan, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, says it has represented almost 200 people charged for allegedly insulting Mr Mugabe, the world's oldest head of state, in recent years.

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