Court discharges United States journalist accused of insulting Mugabe

Court discharges United States journalist accused of insulting Mugabe

A court in Zimbabwe set aside charges against a US citizen accusing her of subversion and undermining the authority of former President Robert Mugabe.

A Zimbabwean court on Thursday freed "for now" an American woman charged with subversion for allegedly describing the former president on Twitter as a "sick man".

Mr. Mugabe, who served as Zimbabwe's leader for 37 years, was forced to step down in late November after the military seized power and put him under house arrest.

Mugwagwa said prosecutors could only proceed with the case "by way of summons" and only if they have new evidence to prove that the journalist indeed plotted to overthrow Mugabe. "So something which the state called a case has crumbled today and we are quite glad that the court honored its promise; it removed our client from remand and we are happy because of that outcome", said Shava.

"In the first place, there was no case".

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The arrest of O'Donovan and the seizure of her laptop in a dawn raid at her apartment came weeks after Mr. Mugabe appointed a cyber-security minister tasked with policing social media.

Ms. O'Donovan would have faced up to 20 years in prison if convicted for subversion. O'Donovan was arrested on Friday 03 November 2017 and charged with subverting constitutional government as defined in section 22 (2)(a) (1) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, Chapter 9:23 and undermining authority of or insulting the President in contravention of section 33 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, Chapter 9:23.

Mr. Mugabe's former deputy, now president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, abolished the portfolio when he appointed his own cabinet, which included former members of the military.

O'Donovan works for Magamba TV, a private television station that describes itself as Zimbabwe's leading producer of political satire.

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