Zimbabwe court upholds charge against United States citizen accused of subversion

  • Zimbabwe court upholds charge against United States citizen accused of subversion

Zimbabwe court upholds charge against United States citizen accused of subversion

The subversion charges carry up to 20 years in prison.

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".

Zimbabwe police have detained United States citizen Martha O'Donovan for allegedly referring to President Robert Mugabe as a "goblin" on Twitter.

Martha O'Donovan is accused of calling 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe a "sick man" in a Twitter post that included a photo illustration of Mugabe with a catheter.

O'Donovan, who attended New York University and moved to Zimbabwe a year ago, said the allegations are "baseless and malicious" because someone is still posting on the Twitter account. He added that his client had been charged with insulting the president.

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

Police raided her apartment in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, around 5 a.m. and took her to the Harare Central Police Station. Her attorneys challenged the charge, saying it came as an afterthought.

The accused works for social media outlet Magamba TV, which targets youth and describes itself as Zimbabwe's leading producer of political satire.

The U.S. embassy in Harare confirmed an American citizen had been arrested and said it was monitoring the situation closely.

Mugabe, 93, has been increasingly uneasy about social media activists after a pastor started the #ThisFlag movement past year to organize stay-at-home demonstrations against the government.

Mugabe's government has been particularly uneasy about social media after activists such as pastor Evan Mawarire and his #ThisFlag movement previous year used social media to organize a stay-at-home demonstration, the biggest anti-government protest in a decade.

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights - the group representing O'Donovan - said that O'Donovan's arrest was the first since the Zimbabwean president appointed a cybersecurity minister last month, according to the AP.