Zimbabwe Charges U.S. Woman With Subversion

Zimbabwean President Robert Muagbe 

Photographer: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP Photo

Harare, Zimbabwe (AP) -- The Latest on American arrested in Zimbabwe and accused of insulting its president (all times local):

6:05 p.m.

The lawyer for an American arrested in Zimbabwe and accused of insulting its president says the young woman now faces charges of subverting a constitutionally elected government. The offense carries up to 20 years in prison.

Obey Shava with the group Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights tells The Associated Press the charges are in addition to ones of undermining the authority of or insulting the president.

The 25-year-old Martha O'Donovan denies the charges as "baseless and malicious." She was arrested Friday morning.

She is accused of posting the message "We are being led by a selfish and sick man" on Twitter.

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11:45 a.m.

Lawyers and a U.S. Embassy official say Zimbabwe police have arrested a United States citizen for allegedly insulting President Robert Mugabe on Twitter.

Embassy spokesman David McGuire tells The Associated Press that police picked up Martha O'Donovan on Friday.

O'Donovan's lawyer, Obey Shava, says police have not yet charged her but they claim that "tweets emanating from her IT address are insulting to the president."

The lawyer says O'Donovan has worked with local social media outlet Magamba TV, whose target audience is youth.

Mugabe last month appointed a minister for cybersecurity, a move criticized by activists as aimed at clamping down on social media users.

The group Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights says it has represented close to 200 people charged for allegedly insulting the president in recent years.

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