Published: Sun, November 05, 2017
Science | By Cecil Little

American woman arrested in Zimbabwe over tweet targeting president Mugabe

American woman arrested in Zimbabwe over tweet targeting president Mugabe

The Zimbabwe Police has arrested a USA citizen residing in the country over allegations that she insulted President Robert Mugabe, her Attorneys said. The subversion charges carry up to 20 years in prison. The organization tweeted a photograph of O'Donovan and her lawyer at the police station Friday.

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.

"You have to approach the High Court for bail since you are facing a third-schedule offense", Magistrate Nomsa Sabarauta told O'Donovan during a court appearance Saturday, referring to the most serious category of criminal offenses.

The 25-year-old American journalist is charged with attempting to overthrow the president on account of an alleged tweet that described the ageing leader as "selfish and sick".

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O'Donovan, an alum of NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study, has been in Zimbabwe for a year working as a project officer for satirical outlet Magamba TV and a bartender at local watering hole, Mars Bar.

Recent online reports have claimed Mr Mugabe's two adult sons, Robert Jr and Chatunga, have imported at least one luxury vehicle from neighbouring South Africa.

The cyber-security ministry was created in Mugabe's latest cabinet reshuffle last month which also saw his deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa being stripped of his justice portfolio.

Social media posts played a major role in fueling major anti-government protests in Zimbabwe previous year.

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Martha O'Donovan is charged with subversion and insulting the president for allegedly calling Mr Mugabe a "sick man" in a tweet, according to the Associated Press.

The statement said Zimbabwe authorities tracked tweets to O'Donovan's IP address.

"Some use the internet to fight us and implement what they say is regime change", Mugabe said on Saturday while commissioning a community information centre in the southern city of Bulawayo while O'Donovan was appearing in court.

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