The Zimbabwean police today dragged an American citizen, Martha O’Donovan, to the magistrate’s court and charged her with insulting President Robert Mugabe on Twitter.
The tweet for which Martha was charged was a retweet of the tweet 29 September by @mmatigary.
But in the police charge in court, she was accused of creating the account. While Martha spent Friday night in police detention, the police now have a court order to remand her in prison till 15 November, when a bail hearing will be held.
Her laptop and all electronic gadgets have been confiscated, her lawyers said.
Martha O’Donovan was first detained on Friday morning. Her lawyer, Obey Shava, told media that O’Donovan had been accused of tweeting “We are being led by a selfish and sick man” on Twitter. The tweet also had a photo illustration of the 93-year-old Zimbabwean President with a catheter.
The retweet that got Martha O’Donovan in trouble
However, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said police officers claimed that O’Donovan, who is represented by one of its members, posted a tweet on her profile during the recently held Shoko Festival, which referred to a certain Goblin, whose wife and step sons imported a Rolls Royce vehicle.
“The reported offensive and insulting tweet does not make any mention of the president’s name,” the ZHLR said.
Recent media reports have claimed that Mugabe’s wife and sons imported luxury vehicles from neighboring South Africa.
O’Donovan is an American citizen who works for Magamba TV, which describes itself as Zimbabwe’s leading producer of political satire and comedy shows.
The arrest of O’Donovan was the first twitter-related arrest after the government created a cyber security ministry last month.