The Latest: American accused in Zimbabwe to stay in jail

November 4, 2017 1:24 pm
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HARARE, Zimbabwe — The Latest on American woman accused of subversion in Zimbabwe (all times local):

3:20 p.m.

An American woman charged with subversion in Zimbabwe for allegedly insulting the president will remain in police custody this weekend after appearing in court for the first time.

Martha O’Donovan is accused of calling 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe a “sick man” in a Twitter post that included a photo illustration of Mugabe with a catheter. She denies the allegations as “baseless and malicious.”

The court on Saturday dismissed a request by O’Donovan’s lawyers to strike down the subversion charge, arguing that police didn’t inform her of it when she was arrested Friday morning.

Lawyer Rose Hanzi says they will approach the High Court for bail on Monday. O’Donovan also is charged with undermining or insulting the authority of the president.

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12:30 p.m.

An American woman charged with subversion in Zimbabwe for allegedly insulting the president on Twitter has appeared in court.

A lawyer for 25-year-old Martha O’Donovan, Rose Hanzi, told the court on Saturday that the arrest was illegal because police did not explain the reasons for it when O’Donovan was taken from her home Friday morning. The arresting officer is being questioned in court.

O’Donovan is accused of calling 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe a “sick man” in a Twitter post that included a photo illustration of the president with a catheter.

The charge of subversion carries up to 20 years in prison.

O’Donovan has denied the allegations as “baseless and malicious.”

It was the first arrest since Mugabe last month appointed a cybersecurity minister, criticized by activists as targeting social media.

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