New Jersey journalist, 25, is jailed in Zimbabwe and faces up to TWENTY YEARS behind bars for 'tweeting Mugabe is a selfish and sick man' from account which is STILL ACTIVE despite her being behind bars
- Martha O'Donovan was arrested in the Zimbabwean capital Harare on Friday
- Police say she tweeted 'we are being led by a sick and selfish man' on October 11
- It came from a Twitter user who tweets under the handle @matigary
- The post included a photograph of Mugabe, 93, which suggested he was using a catheter
- They claim it was a crime of subversion against President Robert Mugabe
- Officials say they tracked its IP address to O'Donovan's home in Zimbabwe
- The woman's lawyers say she is not behind the account which posted the tweet
- The 25-year-old NYU graduate faces up to 20 years behind bars if charged
- On Saturday, she was held in custody after a brief court hearing in Harare
- She will next appear in court on November 15 for a bail hearing
- O'Donovan works for local network Magamba TV and is also a bartender
An American woman in Zimbabwe has been jailed for 'insulting' President Robert Mugabe by allegedly tweeting an image of him which suggested he has a catheter from an anonymous account which was still active as she languished behind bars on Saturday.
Martha O'Donovan, 25, was arrested on Friday morning at her home near Harare, the country's capital, and was taken into custody on a charge of insulting or undermining the president.
Police have accused her of being behind the Twitter account @matigary which is critical of Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party. On October 11, @matigary published photographs of Mugabe which they said appeared to show a catheter in his trousers.
The post was captioned: 'We are being led by a very selfish and sick man.' The twitter account is still active and is tweeting about O'Donovan's arrest.
Authorities in Zimbabwe however say they traced the IP address of the October 11 post to O'Donovan's home and they believe she is behind it.
She is now charged with undermining or insulting the president and may face an additional charge of attempting to overthrow the government.
A judge dismissed her lawyers' motion to throw out the arrest warrant on Saturday and she was remanded in custody until November 15 when she will return to court for a bail hearing.
O'Donovan, a graduate of NYU, has been in Zimbabwe for the last year working for the local TV network Magamba and bar tending.
She went to Africa in 2013 to teach young local people how to become radio journalists as part of her NYU fellowship on human rights in Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Scroll down for video
Martha O'Donovan is pictured being led into a truck to be taken to jail on Saturday after a court hearing in Harare, Zimbabwe, where she is charged with insulting and undermining President Robert Mugabe on Twitter
This is the post O'Donovan is accused of writing. It was shared under the Twitter handle @matigary on October 11 and includes a photograph which the user said appeared to show he was using a catheter
Magamba TV, which she now works as a producer for, describes itself the home of 'satirical comedy sensations'.
As news of her arrest emerged on Friday, a #FreeMartha social media campaign calling for her release went viral.
The woman's family in her hometown of Martinsville, New Jersey, have not yet commented on her arrest.
Her arrest warrant states that on October 11, she, under the Twitter handle @matigary, tweeted: 'We are being led by a sick and selfish man'.
She was arrested at around 5am on Friday and was taken into custody and appeared at Harare Magistrates Court on Saturday where she was remanded.
Photographs show her leaving the court with female guards and entering a police truck. It is likely she was taken to Harare Central Prison but yet lawyers have yet to confirm where she is being held.
As she languished in custody, @matigary carried on tweeting about the ordeal and criticizing the president.
'LOL I am in and still tweeting,' said one post on Saturday afternoon.
O'Donovan's arrest is the first of its kind since Mugabe appointed a minister for cybersecurity last month.
It was a move which human rights activists criticized, claiming it infringed on free speech.
In a statement before her court appearance, she said: 'I deny the allegations leveled against me as baseless and malicious.'
O'Donovan, 25, was remanded in custody after a brief hearing on Saturday morning. She is pictured being taken away from Harare Magistrates Court afterwards
O'Donovan is seen arriving at Harare Magistrates Court on Saturday morning to face the charges
Local media shared a photograph of O'Donovan's arrest warrant. It claims that on October 11, she tweeted: 'We are being led by a selfish and sick man'
On Saturday, the account was still active as O'Donovan languished in jail. Its anonymous user is relentless in their criticism of Mugabe who they refer to as 'Goblin'
They jokingly claimed that they turned themselves in after O'Donovan's arrest but were turned away because they were 'after muzungu' - an African term for foreigners
Mugabe, 93, and his ZANU-PF party are notoriously anti-white and harsh on anyone who dares to criticize the government
O'Donovan, a graduate of New York University, previously referred to herself as a 'media activist.'
Earlier this year, she presented a talk at a republica digital culture conference on 'How Zimbabweans Rebel Online'.
She was previously involved with campaigning for the release of Pastor Evan Mawarire who was jailed last year on similar charges.
She traveled to Africa in 2013 to work for The Children's Radio Foundation where she said her job was to train local young people to become reporters.
O'Donovan was a student at NYU Gallatin and specialized in the study of human rights in African cities.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights says it has represented nearly 200 people charged for allegedly insulting Mugabe, the world's oldest head of state, in recent years.
Martha, 25, is an NYU graduate and was raised in New Jersey
The 25-year-old has been living in Zimbabwe for at least a year and works on local TV station Magamba
O'Donovan also works as a bartender in Avondale, a suburb of the capital Harare
Before she was remanded in custody on Saturday, O'Donovan posed for photographs with her lawyers and with others inside the court. They said she was in 'high spirits' despite the charges
The woman (above arriving at Harare Magistrates Court on Saturday morning) insists she did not send the tweet
Nearly 200 people have been criminally charged with insulting Mugabe, 93 (above with his wife Grace on October 25) in recent years, according to human rights lawyers
Frustration is growing in the once-prosperous southern African nation as the economy collapses and the president, in power since 1980, is already running for next year's elections.
'This arrest marks the start of a sinister new chapter in the Zimbabwean government's clampdown on freedom of speech, and the new battleground is social media,' said Amnesty International's deputy regional director, Muleya Mwananyanda.
The statement said Zimbabwe authorities tracked tweets to O'Donovan's IP address.
'Concerned to hear of Martha O`Donovan's arrest and ongoing detention.
'#Mugabe must stop arresting journalists #FreeMartha,' the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists tweeted on Friday.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5049325/US-woman-faces-20-years-jail-insulting-Mugabe.html#ixzz4xUQXw432
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
President Mugabe's son 'pours £200 champagne over his £45,000 watch he boasted he got because "daddy run the whole country" as he parties while Zimbabwe starves'
- Chatunga Bellarmine Mugabe posted video on Snapchat of outrageous stunt
- Shows two bottles of £200 champagne being upended over £45,000 watch
- Chatunga and brother Robert Jr are known for their party-hard lifestyles
- Pair were at centre of an international incident earlier this year in South Africa when mother Grace allegedly beat a model while looking for them
One of Robert Mugabe's sons has filmed himself pouring hundreds of pounds worth of champagne over his diamond-encrusted wristwatch.
Chatunga Bellarmine Mugabe uploaded the video to Snapchat hours after bragging that he got the £45,000 timepiece because 'daddy run the whole country'.
The footage, filmed in a nightclub, shows Chatunga enjoying a life of unimaginable wealth while almost three quarters of the country lives below the poverty line.
Chatunga Bellarmine Mugabe posted a video of himself pouring champagne over his own wristwatch after bragging about the £45,000 timepiece bought by 'daddy'
Chatunga (right) filmed the stunt in a nightclub in the city of Sandton, South Africa, where he lives a hard-partying lifestyle with his brother Robert Jr (left)
Chatunga and his brother Robert Jr, the two sons of Robert and Grace Mugabe, are well-known for their hard partying lives of luxury.
The pair caused an international incident earlier this year while in South Africa, after the disappeared on a wild night out, prompting Mrs Mugabe to go looking for them.
Finding 20-year-old model Gabriella Engels instead, Mrs Mugabe allegedly beat her over the head with an electrical plug when she was unable to say where the boys had gone.
That led to a warrant being issued for her arrest, though she was eventually granted diplomatic immunity and allowed to leave the country.
In the latest incident Chatunga films himself, brother Robert, and friends partying in a nightclub in Sandton, South Africa, where they are based, according to News 24.
Robert is briefly seen with his arm around a girl before the footage cuts to an image of Chatunga's wrist, complete with watch and gold chain.
Robert is briefly seen in the footage with his arm around a girl (left) before the video cuts to Chatunga performing the champagne stunt (right)
The champagne in question is Armand de Brignac Ace Of Spades Gold, which retails around £200. An empty bottle is seen on a table along with other expensive brands (right)
While it appears to be the same watch he previously bragged about online, it is not clear because of the champagne already flowing over his arm.
The bottle is Armand de Brignac Ace Of Spades gold, which retails for around £200.
A second hand then appears in the frame with another bottle and begins emptying that on the watch too, before both of the empty bottles are displayed for the camera.
More bottles are then displayed on a table before the footage ends.
The video appeared online just weeks after Mrs Mugabe announced she is suing a Lebanese jeweller for failing to deliver a £1million diamond ring she bought to mark her 21st wedding anniversary with the dictator.
Ahmed claims to have received threats from officials from Zimbabwe's spy agencyas well from Grace herself and her son from her first marriage, Russell Goreraza
Goreraza himself is also no stranger to a life of luxury, having reportedly imported two Rolls Royce limousines worth £4million into the country recently.
Chatunga and Robert Jr are the sons of Grace and Robert Mugabe (pictured together today). The boys caused an international incident earlier this year when Mrs Mugabe was accused of beating a model over the head with a plug while looking for them in South Africa
Mrs Mugabe is the favourite to take power from her 93-year-old husband after he sacked his deputy this week for 'disloyalty'
Grace Mugabe is currently suing a Lebanese businessman for failing to deliver a £1million diamond ring she bought to celebrate her wedding anniversary
After the vehicles arrived he is said to have thrown a luxurious party which included free-flowing champagne.
Mrs Mugabe is favourite to succeed her 93-year-old husband after he fired his deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa over claims of 'disloyalty' this week.
Mr Mnangagwa was accused of fanning the flames of unrest after Mrs Mugabe was booed at a rally, before being sacked from his post.
The powerful youth league of the ruling Zanu-PF party quickly endorsed her to replace Mr Mnangagwa, though no announcement has yet been made.
Under Mugabe's leadership the GDP of Zimbabwe has fallen by almost 50 per cent, according to the United Nations.
The country suffered badly during the recession and experienced hyperinflation and a widespread lack of food and other essentials.
Things have recovered since then, but are still significantly worse than when the family took power.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5062367/President-Mugabe-s-son-pours-champagne-45k-watch.html#ixzz4xs6UiNob
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook