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m3n4.net November 25, 2017


NYU grad facing jail for allegedly ripping 'sick' Mugabe

05 November 2017, 01:10 | Tara Lloyd

American arrested in Zimbabwe for 'insulting Robert Mugabe'

American television producer charged with trying to overthrow Zimbabwe's President Mugabe with tweet

Zimbabwean police on Friday charged US human rights activist and television producer Martha O'Donovan with attempting to overthrow the government of President Robert Mugabe by allegedly sending out a tweet deemed to be offensive, according to lawyers. She later said O'Donovan faced additional charges of subverting a constitutionally elected government.

Lawyer Rose Hanzi told the court the subversion charge was illegal because police did not inform Ms O'Donovan of it when she was taken from her home in the capital, Harare, on Friday morning.

The charge of subversion carries up to 20 years in prison. He added that his client had formally been charged with insulting the president.

O'Donovan, who attended New York University and moved to Zimbabwe previous year, said the allegations are "baseless and malicious" because someone is still posting on the Twitter account.

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O'Donovan is accused of referring to Mugabe when she tweeted about a "Goblin" whose wife and step-sons imported an expensive auto. The account was active on Friday and Saturday even though O'Donovan is in custody. 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.

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.

It was the first arrest since Mugabe last month appointed a cybersecurity minister, a move criticized by activists as targeting social media.

The lawyer says O'Donovan has worked with local social media outlet Magamba TV, whose target audience is youth.

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"The reported offensive and insulting tweet does not make any mention of the president's name", Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said in a statement.

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

Mr Mugabe, 93, was not named in the tweet, according to Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, an NGO who who are representing Ms O'Donovan.

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