HighlightWorld News

American accused in Zimbabwe to stay in jail

118

An American woman charged with subversion in Zimbabwe for allegedly insulting the president on Twitter as a “sick man” made her first court appearance on Saturday as her lawyers disputed the charges that carry up to 20 years in prison.
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.

The court disagreed, and O’Donovan will remain in custody over the weekend. Hanzi said they will approach the High Court for bail on Monday. O’Donovan, who grew up in New Jersey, made no statement in court and showed no emotion as the request was dismissed. She waved to a small crowd of supporters as she was escorted into a prison truck.

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 the president with a catheter.
The charge of subversion carries up to 20 years in prison. O’Donovan also is charged with undermining the authority of or insulting the president

 

O’Donovan has denied the allegations as “baseless and malicious.”
It was the first arrest since Mugabe last month appointed a cybersecurity minister, a move criticised by activists as targeting social media. Zimbabwe was shaken last year by the biggest anti-government protests in a decade. 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 had been working with local social media outlet Magamba TV, which describes itself as producing “satirical comedy sensations.” 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 at a re:publica digital culture conference on “How Zimbabweans Rebel Online.”

O’Donovan’s family could not immediately be reached for comment. The State Department said that “we are aware of reports that a US citizen was detained in Zimbabwe. We stand ready to provide appropriate consular assistance for US citizens. Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment.?”
The group representing O’Donovan, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights says it has represented nearly 200 people charged for allegedly insulting Mugabe, the world’s oldest head of state, in recent years.

“This arrest marks the start of a sinister new chapter in the Zimbabwean government’s clampdown on freedom of speech, and the new battleground is social media,” said Amnesty International’s deputy regional director, Muleya Mwananyanda. The statement said Zimbabwe authorities tracked tweets to O’Donovan’s IP address.
— AP

Leave a comment

Related Articles

Pres. Tinubu Approves Consumer Credit Scheme Takeoff

President Bola Tinubu has approved the takeoff of the first phase of...

Renewed Wike/Fubara feud: Rivers Attorney-General Adangor resigns again

For the second time in a few months, an ally of FCT...

Dana Air incident: FAAN reopens MMIA runway

Aftermath of Dana airlines overshooting the runway during its landing sequence at...

EFCC to ex-Gov. Bello: We will set aside arrest warrant if you show up in court

“I will personally apply that the arrest warrant be set aside if...

Just in: Again, Dangote further crashes diesel, aviation fuel to N940, N980

Dangote Petroleum Refinery has announced another reduction in diesel and aviation fuel...

Just in: Reps ex-Deputy Speaker Ihedioha quits PDP

The main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), has lost another...

CBN sells fresh dollars to BDCs at N1,021/$ as naira loses steam

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued another circular to Bureau...

Update: Dana Airlines’ Lagos airport incident: Aircraft grounded

The management of Dana Air has confirmed reports that one of its...

NNPC Ltd., joint venture partner, unlock 12,000bpd production from Awoba Unit Field

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd) and its joint venture...

Bullying scandal in Abuja private school stirs condemnation, management reacts

Nigerians have taken to social media over the viral video of a...

Power outages: FG set to unbundle 11 Discos, each state to get its own firm

The Federal Government says it has begun the restructuring and unbundling of...

Tinubu departs Abuja for Netherlands, attends economic forum in Saudi Arabia

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will on Tuesday, April 23, depart Abuja for...

Merge NSCDC, FRSC with Police – IG

The Federal Government should merge the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps...

NDLEA urges Lions Club, other service organizations to join war against illicit drugs

The National Drug Law and Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has urged service and...

FG begins loan disbursement to businesses, manufacturers

“The Federal Government of Nigeria is proud to announce the operational launch...

Horrific! Babcock varsity law professor shot fatally, two others abducted in Ogun

The gunmen, who killed the lecturer, also abducted two others at the...

Ogun begins sale of rice at discounted prices to workers

Ogun State Government has commenced sale of rice to its workforce as...

NFF debunks appointing Amunike as Super Eagles coach

The Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) has described as fake news that it...

Kidnapped RCCG pastor rescued, says Oyo Govt.

The Oyo State Government announced the safe rescue of Pastor Olugbenga Olawore...