Arabic AR Chinese (Simplified) ZH-CN English EN French FR German DE Japanese JA Portuguese PT Russian RU Spanish ES Ukrainian UK

US citizen arrested in Zimbabwe, accused of insulting Mugabe

Latest news

    Zimbabwe police have charged a United States citizen with subversion for allegedly insulting President Robert Mugabe on Twitter as a “sick man,” lawyers said Friday. The offense carries up to 20 years in prison.

    It was the first arrest made since Mugabe last month appointed a minister for cybersecurity, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said, a move criticized by activists as aimed at clamping down on social media users. Zimbabwe was shaken last year by the biggest anti-government protests in a decade.

    Police picked up 25-year-old Martha O’Donovan on Friday morning in the capital, Harare, U.S. Embassy spokesman David McGuire told The Associated Press.

    Police accuse O’Donovan of tweeting “We are being led by a selfish and sick man,” from the Twitter handle @matigary, said her lawyer, Obey Shava with Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. The tweet had a photo illustration of the 93-year-old Mugabe with a catheter, the charge sheet said.

    O’Donovan has been charged with undermining the authority of or insulting the president, Shava said. She later said O’Donovan faced additional charges of subverting a constitutionally elected government.

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

    O’Donovan had been working with local social media outlet Magamba TV, whose target audience is youth, Shava said. The outlet 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.”

    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. 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.

    “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.

    View the original article: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/us-citizen-arrested-zimbabwe-accused-insulting-mugabe-50904319

    “Concerned to hear of Martha O’Donovan’s arrest and ongoing detention. #Mugabe must stop arresting journalists #FreeMartha,” the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists tweeted Friday.

    In the same category are

    The Latest: US condemns Kabul hotel attack that left 18 dead The Latest on Afghanistan, where gunmen stormed the Intercontinental Hotel in the capital, Kabul (all times local):7 a.m.U.S. Secretary of State Rex T...
    Global female empowerment marches enter second day Marches are scheduled in cities including Miami, Melbourne and Munich. A rally in Las Vegas will launch an effort to register 1 million voters and tar...
    The Latest: Russia warned Kurdish officials of Turkey attack The Latest on the Syrian conflict (all times local):9:15 p.m.Three Kurdish officials have said that Russian military officials have proposed handing o...
    Philippines says it won’t be embroiled in US-China sea spat The Philippines said Sunday that it won't get embroiled in a fresh spat between the U.S. and China involving Beijing's protest of an American warship ...
    S. Koreans burn Kim’s photo as N. Korean band leader passes Dozens of conservative activists have attempted to burn a large photo of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as the head of the North's hugely popular gir...
    Mexico posts highest homicide rate in decades Mexico posted its highest homicide rate in decades, with the government reporting Sunday there were 29,168 murders in 2017, a 27 percent increase over...

    Leave a comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *