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Martha O'Donovan Released on Bail After Zimbabwe Subversion Charge

Image: Martha O'Donovan Released on Bail After Zimbabwe Subversion Charge

U.S. journalist Martha O'Donovan, who was arrested on charges of insulting Zimbabwe's president and attempting to subvert the country's regime, sits in the back of a U.S. Embassy vehicle as she leaves Chikurubi Maximum Prison near Harare, after being released on $1,000 bail on November 10, 2017. (Jekesai Njikizana/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 10 November 2017 03:44 PM

American Martha O’Donovan was released on bail in Zimbabwe Friday after being charged with subversion for tweeting Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe was “a sick and selfish man.”

O’Donovan, 25, had been detained since Nov. 3 and was released to U.S. Embassy officials until a hearing scheduled for Wednesday, CNN reported. She could get up the 20 years in prison if convicted.

O’Donovan said she was a media activist working with satirical comedy maker Magamba TV.

Her lawyer failed to get the case dismissed over the weekend on the grounds that police had not notified her of the charge when they arrested her at her home in Harare, Fox News reported

“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,” Obey Shava of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, who represented O’Donovan, said, CNN reported. 

O’Donovan is the first to be charged since a cybersecurity ministry was created in Zimbabwe to police social media.

Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980 and has been criticized for corruption and abuse of power for many years. He is the oldest current head of state at 93. 

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said it has represented close to 200 people in recent years for accusations that they insulted Mugabe.

Four other people also were arrested in Zimbabwe this week for booing the first lady at a rally the president attended.

The country has been suffering from an extended economic collapse and high inflation rates in recent years.

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American Martha O'Donovan was released on bail in Zimbabwe Friday after being charged with subversion for tweeting Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe was "a sick and selfish man."
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Friday, 10 November 2017 03:44 PM
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