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NJ Woman Charged With Subversion in Zimbabwe Over Tweet

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A New Jersey woman and New York University graduate is currently sitting in jail in Zimbabwe after she allegedly insulted Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Twitter.

NJ.com reports 25-year-old Martha O’Donovan was charged with subversion, which carries up to a 20-year prison sentence, after authorities claim she posted a tweet calling Mugabe a “sick man.”

The tweet in question was actually posted by an account called “matigary.” Although Zimbabwean authorities claim they allegedly traced the tweet back to O'Donovan's IP account, the account has been tweeting since O’Donovan’s arrest.

In addition to being charged with subversion, O’Donovan has also been charged with “undermining authority of or insulting the president.”

O’Donovan has called the charges against her “baseless and malicious.” Her lawyer has called the subversion charge illegal, as she was not previously informed of the charge.

O’Donovan’s arrest is reportedly the first arrest made since Mugabe appointed a cybersecurity minister in order to crack down on anti-government protesters online.

Prior to her arrest, O’Donovan had been working at an allegedly satirical media outlet in Zimbabwe and considered herself a “media activist.” She had reportedly presented a talk on “How Zimbabweans Rebel Online.”

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