American woman charged in Zimbabwe over Mugabe ‘insult’

President Mugabe reads wrong speech in Parliament opener
President Mugabe reads wrong speech in Parliament opener

An American woman charged with subversion in Zimbabwe over allegedly insulting President Robert Mugabe on Twitter has been released from prison on bail.

Witnesses saw 25-year-old Martha O’Donovan emerge from the Chikurubi maximum security prison outside the capital, Harare and leave in a US embassy vehicle.

Her lawyers did not speak to the news media, but O’Donovan will return to court on Wednesday.

Judge Clement Phiri of the High Court said on Thursday that there was a “patent absence of facts” in the state’s case against O’Donovan, who was arrested last week on accusations she insulted 93-year-old Mugabe in a Twitter post.

O’Donovan is accused of calling Mugabe a “selfish and sick man” in a tweet that included an image of him with a catheter.

O’Donovan faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted for subversion, and also faces a charge of undermining the authority of or insulting the president, which carries up to a year in prison.

She has denied the charges as “baseless and malicious”.

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