On Friday, American woman Martha O'Donovan was released on bail from a jail in Zimbabwe. The 25-year-old was granted bail at a court hearing on Thursday after being detained for a full week.
According to CNN, O'Donovan is facing charges of subversion and undermining President Robert Mugabe's authority. She was detained on November 3 after tweeting that Mugabe is "a selfish and sick man."
The 93-year-old president is one of Africa's longest-serving leaders. Mugabe recently hired a cybersecurity minister, who, according to several activists, is targeting social media users in order to restrain freedom.
O'Donovan reportedly calls herself a "media activist." She works with Magamba TV, a local social media outlet that produces comedies. Now, she has been accused of plotting to overthrow the Zimbabwean government.
Defense attorney Obey Shava from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights commented on the situation. He said that the charges were "concocted."
He said, "There is no substance in what the state is saying. It is not Martha O'Donovan which is the real target here. But the whole idea behind the charges is to discourage people from putting their ideas on social media, and it is about a clampdown on social media by the state."
For now, O'Donovan has been released on a $1,000 bail. She will return to court next Wednesday for the next hearing. Until the case is finalized, the American's bail conditions include surrendering her passport, reporting twice a week to the police, and not interfering with witnesses.
The New Jersey native left the jail in a U.S. Embassy vehicle on Friday but faces up to 20 years in prison if she is convicted for subversion. Additionally, the punishment for undermining the president could result in a 1-year prison penalty.
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