A United States citizen was arrested in Zimbabwe on Friday and alleged to have insulted President Robert Mugabe on Twitter. Such offense in the country could carry a prison life of 20 years.
The 25-year-old Martha O’Donovan was detained from capital city Harare.
US Embassy spokesman David McGuire said he is accused of tweeting this – “We are being led by a selfish and sick man.”
She has been charged with insulting the president and subverting a constitutionally elected government.
Last month the government appointed a minister for cybersecurity and the arrest is first since then.
The country was shaken in 2016 by the biggest anti-government protests in about a decade.
The new move was criticized by activists pointing that it is focused at clamping down on the social media users.
O’Donovan denied all the allegations saying, “I deny the allegations leveled against me as baseless and malicious.”
Meanwhile, New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists tweeted that Mugabe must stop arrested journalists.
O’Donovan’s lawyer Obey Shava said the US citizen has been working with local social media outlet Magamba TV and called herself a manager for it. She is a media activist too and graduated from New York University.