A young woman from New Jersey currently living in Zimbabwe could be jailed for 20 years if she is found guilty of treason. She was arrested after she tweeted last week undermining the power of Robert Mugabe as well as mocking the oldest head of state in the world. The woman has been identified as Martha O’Donovan, and she is currently 25. This has led to the fear that the Zimbabwean government is trying to control the use of social media in the country as elections approach. The country is expected to go to the poll next year, and Mr. Mugabe is seeking re-election at the age of 94. There have been reports in the country that his health is increasingly failing. Ms. O’Donovan was taken from her Harare home on Friday, and she faces 20 years for insulting the head of state.
This has also been referred to as undermining the authority or subverting the government. However, a high court judge in Harare expressed the skepticism of the charges openly before granting the 25-year-old bail. At the same time, the judge who has been identified as Clement Phiri showed that the lady has a plausible defense. At the same time, the judge said that the case seems to be a prima facie one where there is no evidence that the American woman had a plot of overthrowing the current government. While no trial date has been set, the lady was ordered by the court to surrender her passport and also ordered to stay in the country. The accused woman is from Martinsville, New Jersey. The New York Times learned that she graduated from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study back in 2014.
At the moment, she is said to work with a company known as Magamba Network as project director. This is a company that produces political satire. However, the prosecutors have other ideas where they have accused the woman of using a sophisticated network of social media to cause political unrest in the country. The prosecutors provided a tweet as evidence that referred to Mr. Mugabe as an old, sick, selfish man. The tweet also included the photograph of the ailing president. She has also been accused of having access to an anonymous account that she accesses using a web browser known as Onion Router. The prosecutors further said that her goal was to produce uprisings like the ones experienced in Tunisia and Egypt.