American Woman Jailed in Zimbabwe After Allegedly Posting Tweet About Zimbabwean President

A US citizen has been arrested for a tweet just weeks after Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe appointed a cyber security minister charged with policing social media. By Jekesai NJIKIZANA

A 25-year-old American woman charged with subversion in Zimbabwe for allegedly insulting the president on Twitter as a "sick man" will remain in police custody over the weekend after her first court appearance on Sunday.

Martha O' Donovan appears at the Harare Magistrates court on November 4, 2017. The subversion charge carries a 20 year prison term. He added that his client had formally been charged with insulting the president. Zimbabwe authorities have said that O'Donovan was the one who wrote them because they came from her IP address.

Two men were arrested separately on Friday after they allegedly said "I will not vote ZANU-PF and president Mugabe is like a dog", referring to the ruling party.

"I deny the allegations leveled against me as baseless and malicious", O'Donovan said in a signed statement shown to the AP.

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 protests, combined with factional rivalries in the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and a self-inflicted economic crisis, have further weakened the regime of 92-year-old President Robert Mugabe" is stated in the 2017 report on world freedom published by Freedom House.

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The 62-year-old is one of the largest shareholders in Citigroup and also owns stakes in News Corp and Twitter. Kingdom Holding did not respond to requests for comment from The National .

The group representing O'Donovan, 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.

Martha O'Donovan works for Magamba TV, a local company that specialises in political satire.

In recent years at least 200 people have been charged with insulting Mugabe according to Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

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

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.

Relatives refused to comment when reached at their Bridgewater, NJ, home on Saturday.

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