U.S. citizen held in Zimbabwe for insulting Mugabe

05 November, 2017, 01:09 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • U.S. citizen held in Zimbabwe for insulting Mugabe

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights say at least 200 people have been charged for alleged insults against Mugabe in recent years.

The tweet also included a photo that suggested the president, 93, was relying on a catheter.

O'Donovan's charges carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, according to The Washington Post.

An American woman charged with subversion in Zimbabwe for allegedly insulting the president will remain in police custody this weekend after appearing in court for the first time.

A lawyer for 25-year-old Martha O'Donovan, Rose Hanzi, told the court that the subversion charge was illegal because police did not inform O'Donovan of it when she was taken from her home in the capital, Harare, on Friday morning. He added that his client had formally been charged with insulting the president.

O'Donovan works for Harare-based Magamba TV, which describes itself as a leading producer of cutting edge political satire and comedy.


Earlier reports said Ms O'Donovan was accused of allegedly referring to Mr Mugabe as a "Goblin" whose wife and step-sons had imported a Rolls Royce, an apparent reference to President even though he was not named.

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.

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.

The US embassy in Harare confirmed O'Donovan's arrest and said it was monitoring the situation closely.

Social media posts played a major role in fueling major anti-government protests in Zimbabwe previous year. A judge sent her to prison, but said she could appeal for bail in Zimbabwe's highest court.

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.

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