The bail hearing of Martha O’Donovan, the United States of America citizen has been postponed to Thursday 9 November 2017, after the State applied for the postponement due to them “not being ready”. The matter is in the case of State vs Martha O’Donovan, where she is being charged with “Subverting a constitutional government through Masterminding a social media campaign to overthrow the government by unconstitutional means” and “undermining the authority of and insulting the authority of the President”.
This put it at 6 nights that she will be behind bars, as the State does what it can to prolong the matter, maybe to drive a point home to online activities and their activities on social media accounts.
Since Saturday 4 November 2017 O’Donovan has been confined to Chikurubi Maximum Prison for online activities which the organisation she works for, Magamba Network, has stated that she’s innocent in the matter.
A hashtag on Twitter in the form of ‘#FreeMartha‘ has been created to show support for Martha and to call for her release, many claiming this is in conflict with one’s constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression. Zimbabwe recently set up a government ministry, the Ministry of Cyber Security, Threat Detection and Mitigation, to monitor and curb social media abuse.
Members of the public, including a Member of Parliament, have spoken out about the arrest and calling for her release.
This is a serious miscarriage of justice. She did nothing wrong. Zimbabweans must show their Zimbabweaness by standing with Justice, by standing with Martha.
We cannot allow this to continue happening https://t.co/AcgJqdjAho
— Hon. Temba P. Mliswa (@TembaMliswa) November 8, 2017
No trial date has been set yet as police “continue investigations”, while the American Embassy states that they are “monitoring the situation“. O’Donovan faces 20 years in prison if found guilty of “trying to overthrow the government”, albeit she was allegedly trying to do this through Twitter!
Have you been following this matter? What are your thoughts towards the case? Does the State have a case or are they just trying to frustrate citizens and get them to move away from posting stuff on social media?