Zimbabwe charges United States woman with subversion

Michele Moreno
November 5, 2017

Human rights lawyers on Friday had said the arrest was linked to a retweet which did not mention Mugabe by name but referred to a "goblin whose wife and step-son bought a Rolls-Royce".

Lawyers and a U.S. Embassy official say Zimbabwe police have arrested a United States citizen for allegedly insulting President Robert Mugabe on Twitter.

According to court documents released by the group Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, CNN reported that Zimbabwe authorities traced a tweet which said "we are being led by a selfish & sick man" and suggested Mugabe wore a catheter to O'Donovan's IP address.

The court today 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 Saturday morning.

Hanzi said they will approach the High Court for bail on Monday.

The AP also reports that the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights say they have represented almost 200 charged for allegedly insulting the Zimbabwe president in recent years.

Zimbabwe police on Friday picked up O'Donovan and seized her laptop during a dawn raid on her home in Harare. The arresting officer is being questioned in court. That charge carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

The 25-year-old Martha O'Donovan denies the charges as "baseless and malicious".

O'Donovan is accused of referring to Mugabe when she tweeted about a "Goblin" whose wife and step-sons imported an expensive vehicle.

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.

Ms O'Donovan had been working with local social media outlet Magamba TV, which describes itself as producing "satirical comedy sensations". The position was created to focus on crimes on social media and other websites, after activists used social media to promote the largest anti-government protest in a decade a year ago.

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

Other reports by Insurance News

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