An American woman has been jailed in Zimbabwe over allegedly posting a mean tweet about Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, according to multiple reports.
The Washington Post reported that on Friday, 25-year-old New York University graduate Martha O’Donovan — who had lived in Zimbabwe since 2016 and worked at a local satirical comedy station — has been charged with subversion and attempting to overthrow the Mugabe government.
According to court documents released by the group Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, CNN reported that Zimbabwe authorities traced a tweet which said “we are being led by a selfish & sick man” and suggested Mugabe wore a catheter to O’Donovan’s IP address.
“I deny the allegations being leveled against me as baseless and malicious,” CNN reported O’Donovan said, according to court papers. “That is all I wish to say.”
Both The Washington Post and the Associated Press reported that police said the tweet was sent from an account with the handle @matigary.
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O’Donovan’s charges carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, according to The Washington Post.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights — the group representing O’Donovan — said that O’Donovan’s arrest was the first since the Zimbabwean president appointed a cybersecurity minister last month, according to the AP.
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The AP also reports that the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights say they have represented nearly 200 charged for allegedly insulting the Zimbabwe president in recent years.
According to CNN, O’Donovan will remain in custody over the weekend while Zimbabwe’s highest court considers her bail application.
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