An American woman has been jailed in Zimbabwe over allegedly posting a mean tweet about Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, according to multiple reports.
The court disagreed, and O'Donovan will remain in custody over the weekend.
Zimbabwe police on Friday picked up O'Donovan and seized her laptop during a dawn raid on her home in Harare. She could be facing up to 20 years in prison. He added that his client had formally been charged with insulting the president. She is expected to ask the High Court for bail on Monday morning.
Two men were arrested separately on Friday after they allegedly said "I will not vote ZANU-PF and president Mugabe is like a dog", referring to the ruling party.
Police claim the 25-year-old tweeted that Mugabe was a "very selfish and sick man", along with a photo accusing him of using a catheter last month, but O'Donovan denies the accusation as "baseless and malicious".
Mugabe, 93, has been increasingly uneasy about social media activists after a pastor started the #ThisFlag movement past year to organize stay-at-home demonstrations against the government.
She later said O'Donovan faced additional charges of subverting a constitutionally elected government.
O'Donovan had been working with local social media outlet Magamba TV, which describes itself as producing "satirical comedy sensations". 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. O'Donovan, a graduate of New York University, has called herself a manager for Magamba TV and a "media activist".
Earlier this year, she presented a talk on "How Zimbabweans Rebel Online" at the Re-publica Digital Culture Conference.
But I must admit, I do respect Martha O'Donovan's gangster.
Amnesty International said that the Zimbabwean government tracked down O'Donovan's IP address from her tweet, though the Twitter account which posted the initial insult is still active since she has been detained.