Police in Zimbabwe charged an American lady over a tweet that appeared to insult President Robert Mugabe, her lawyer has mentioned.
Martha O’Donovan, 25, is accused of referring to Mr Mugabe as “selfish man and sick man”, a cost she denies.
She faces costs of insulting the president and plotting to overthrow the federal government, her lawyer informed US media.
Her arrest seems to be the primary of its type because the nation’s cyber ministry was created final month.
Ms O’Donovan, who reportedly manages Magamba TV, an online-based satirical video outlet, was “arrested during a dawn raid at her Harare residence,” the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) mentioned in a Facebook publish.
Police accuse her of tweeting: “We are being led by a selfish and sick man,” from the Twitter deal with @matigary, mentioned Obey Shava, a lawyer with ZLHR who’s representing her.
The tweet in query, dated 11 October, consists of an illustration of a person utilizing a catheter, in addition to a photograph of Mr Mugabe with a circle drawn round his midsection.
The US embbady in Zimbabwe didn’t instantly return a request for remark.
In an announcement to police seen by the Reuters and Associated Press information companies, Ms O’Donovan is claimed to have denied “the allegations being levelled against me as baseless and malicious”.
ZLHR mentioned that Ms O’Donovan’s arrest marks the “first Twitter-related arrest” after the Zimbabwean authorities created a Ministry of Cyber Security, Threat Detection and Mitigation final month.
Critics say the brand new ministry is a authorities effort to crack down on social media customers.
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“This arrest marks the start of a sinister new chapter in the Zimbabwean government’s clampdown on freedom of speech, and the new battleground is social media,” mentioned Amnesty International’s deputy regional director, Muleya Mwananyanda.
Mr Mugabe, 93, has led Zimbabwe for the final three many years.
Last month, the World Health Organization (WHO) revoked his appointment as a goodwill ambbadador after a widespread outcry over human rights considerations.