By Staff Reporter
A Harare magistrate’s court has set free American citizen Martha O’Donovan (pictured) who faced subversion charges stemming from an alleged November tweet which prosecutors equaled to an insult on then President Robert Mugabe.
The presiding magistrate Thursday ruled the State had taken longer to give the Magamba TV employee a trial date hence setting her free and advising prosecutors to proceed by way of summons if they still intended to pursue the matter.
This came after O’Donovan’s lawyers Roselyne Hanzi and Obey Shava of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights had filed an application challenging her continued placement on remand with the State failing to give her a trial date.
O’Donovan, accused of “undermining the authority of and insulting the authority of the President” was due to stand trial at the Harare Magistrate’s court this Thursday.
She had been accused of calling Mugabe a “selfish and sick man” in a tweet that included an image of him with a catheter November last year.
The charges, according to the State, also amounted to “subverting a constitutional government through masterminding a social media campaign to overthrow the government by unconstitutional means”.
She endured seven nights in police and prison custody just a few days before Mugabe’s popular ouster in November last year.
While nearly all Mugabe insult cases have failed to hold within the country’s courts, the former President’s ouster has also seen similar cases hit a brick wall.
War veterans secretary general Victor Matemadanda, who faced almost similar charges, was also freed after the state dropped the charges while #ThisFlag founder Evan Mawarire was also freed of charges of “subversion” by the courts.