American accused of tweeting about Zimbabwe president released from jail



Nov. 10 (UPI) — An American citizen was released from a Zimbabwe jail on $1,000 bail Friday after her arrest last week for allegedly calling President Robert Mugabe a “sick and selfish man” on Twitter, her lawyer said.

Martha O’Donovan, 25, was released from the Chikurubi maximum security prison outside the capital of Harare.

“She has been released to U.S. Embassy officials. That’s all we can say,” Kumbirai Mafunda, a spokesman for Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, told CNN.

Authorities arrested O’Donovan on Nov. 4 during a dawn raid at her Harare residence. Police confiscated her electronic devices, including her laptop.

O’Donovan, who works for Magamba TV, a satirical comedy station, was charged with insulting the president and subversion, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

Defense attorney Obey Shava of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said there charges were fabricated.

“There is no substance in what the state is saying,” he said. “It is not Martha O’Donovan which is the real target here. But the whole idea behind the charges is to discourage people from putting their ideas on social media, and it is about a clampdown on social media by the state.”

Judge Clement Phiri of the high court, said there was a “patent absence of facts” in the case.



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