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Zimbabwe charges U.S. woman over 'anti-Mugabe tweet'

Saturday, November 04, 2017 - 01:42

Martha O'Donovan was charged on Friday with attempting to overthrow the Zimbabwean government, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years in jail, after police earlier accused her of insulting 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe. Pascale Davies reports.

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U.S. Citizen Martha O'Donovan arriving at a court in Harare. Her charge, attempting to overthrow the Zimbabwean government via Twitter. Police first accused her of insulting 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe with a tweet last month allegedly calling him a "selfish and sick man". And then accused her of setting up Magamba TV, which describes itself as Zimbabwe's leading producer of political satire - as well as setting up a Twitter account used for the sole purpose of quote "overthrowing the government through unconstitutional means." Lawyers for O'Donovan argue that police only informed her of her charge hours after her arrest, thereby violating the constitution. (SOUNDBITE)(English) LAWYER, OBEY SHAVA, SAYING: "We were contending that the arrest was not in compliance with the mandatory provisions of the constitution and in particular that the police officers were obligated to inform our client the reason of arrest at the time that they arrested her, something which they didn't do. Unfortunately the court was not with us on the particular issue and as a result our application was dismissed." She now faces 11 days in jail until her next court hearing. Her lawyer will apply for bail at the High Court on Monday (November 06). In a statement to police seen by Reuters she denies the allegations as "baseless and malicious". If found guilty, she could face a 20-year jail sentence.

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Zimbabwe charges U.S. woman over 'anti-Mugabe tweet'

Saturday, November 04, 2017 - 01:42