Zimbabwean authorities today arrested an American citizen and confiscated her laptop after claiming that she undermined the authority or insulted President Robert Mugabe through a message which she allegedly posted on social media.
According to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers arrested Martha O'Donovan, who works for Magamba TV, during a dawn raid at her Harare residence and confiscated her electronic devices including her laptop and detained her at Harare Central Police Station’s CID Law and Order Section.
In a statement, ZLHR said, “The ZRP officers, who arrested O'Donovan, were armed with a search warrant, which was granted on Thursday 02 November 2017 by Harare Magistrate Elisha Singano authorising the law enforcement agents to confiscate all her electronic devices as they reportedly investigated a case of undermining authority of or insulting President as defined in Section 33 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act."
The ZRP claimed that O'Donovan, who is represented by Obey Shava of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, posted a tweet on her profile during the recently held Shoko Festival, which referred to a certain Goblin, whose wife and step sons imported a Rolls Royce vehicle.
However, the reported offensive and insulting tweet does not make any mention of the president’s name.
There was no official comment from the Zimbabwe Republic Police about O'Donovan's arrest.
Spokesperson David McGure of the United States Embassy Harare said they were disappointed about her arrest. He declined to comment any further.