USA citizen arrested in Zimbabwe for allegedly insulting Mugabe

USA citizen arrested in Zimbabwe for allegedly insulting Mugabe

A 25-year-old American journalist charged with attempting to overthrow Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, on account of an alleged tweet that described the ageing leader as "selfish and sick", was remanded in custody Saturday after denying the accusations. O'Donovan also is charged with undermining or insulting the authority of the president.

An American woman facing charges of subversion in Zimbabwe will stay in prison for now.

The charge carries a potential 20-year prison sentence. The organization tweeted a photograph of O'Donovan and her lawyer at the police station Friday.

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.

Mugabe's stepson with his wife and first-lady Grace, is thought to have recently imported two British-built Rolls-Royce vehicles, according to local media reports.

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It was the first arrest in Zimbabwe since Mugabe established a Cyber Security Ministry, in an ominous sign of the country's intensifying crackdown on activism and freedom of speech. 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. O'Donovan, a graduate of New York University, has called herself a manager for Magamba TV and a "media activist".

Earlier this year, she presented a talk on "How Zimbabweans Rebel Online" at the Re-publica Digital Culture Conference.

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.

Frustration is growing in the once-prosperous southern African nation as the economy collapses and the President, in power since 1980, is already running for next year's elections.

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

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