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25-year-old U.S. journalist arrested in Zimbabwe for insulting their president on Twitter

By Alexis Bell 5:24 AM November 5, 2017
The tweet and Martha O'Donovan

(Scroll down for video) A journalist from the United States was arrested in Zimbabwe over a tweet after she was accused of insulting their president.

25-year-old Martha O’Donovan from Martinsville, New Jersey, is now facing 20 years in prison and she is being held in jail pending her court appearance.

The arrest came after authorities said that someone with the Twitter handle @matigary called 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe a “sick man” in a post, which included a photo illustration of the elderly president with a catheter.

The post read: “We are being led by a selfish man and a sick man.”

Authorities said that the Cyber Security Ministry tracked tweets to O’Donovan’s IP address, a claim she denied.

O’Donovan was charged with undermining or insulting the president and attempting to overthrow the government, according to her attorney Obey Shava.

Shava tried to get the charges dismissed, saying that officers did not tell his client the reason for her arrest at the time she was taken into custody, but a high court denied the request.

O’Donovan studied human rights in Africa at NYU in New York City.

She spent time in Africa, where she taught young people how to become radio journalists. Her trip was part of her NYU fellowship on human rights.

She returned home and she eventually went to Zimbabwe.

She has been there for over a year working for TV station Magamba TV, which describes itself as a “news satire show.”