Zimbabwe police arrest USA citizen over Mugabe "Goblin" Tweet

Zimbabwe police arrest USA citizen over Mugabe

Zimbabwe police arrest USA citizen over Mugabe "Goblin" Tweet

Zimbabwean police detained a US citizen and seized her laptop on Friday on suspicion of calling President Robert Mugabe a "Goblin" on Twitter, the first arrest since the creation of a Ministry of Cyber Security last month, her lawyers said.

Central to their investigation, it said, was a post on Ms O'Donovan's Twitter feed referring to a "Goblin" whose wife and step-sons had imported a Rolls Royce, an apparent reference to 93-year-old Mr Mugabe even though he was not named.

Ms O'Donovan had been working with local social media outlet Magamba TV, whose target audience is youth, said Obey Shava of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

The British-built cars - both Rolls-Royce Ghosts that sell for around $220,000 (190,000 euros) and have a top speed of 155 miles per hour - are marketed by the manufacturer as "more measured, more realistic" than the $300,000 Rolls-Royce Phantom.

Footage of her son taking delivery of the vehicles prompted outrage when it was circulated on social media last month.

Police did not respond to calls for comment.

There have been several arrests in recent years for actions deemed to undermine the president, although no one has been convicted.

Recently Robert Mugabe created a new Ministry of Cyber Security, Threat Detection and Mitigation headed by form Justice and Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa. Zimbabwe was shaken a year ago by the biggest anti-government protests in a decade. One of the most effective was the #ThisFlag movement past year which was organised by pastor Evan Mawarire.

The first lady is deeply unpopular with Zimbabweans, who have been incensed by reports of her extravagant spending, and has shown herself to be sensitive to criticism.

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.

Zimbabwe does not yet have a cyber-crime law, so if O'Donovan is charged it is likely to be under the presidential insult law, she adds.

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