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CORRECTED-U.S. citizen facing subversion charges in Zimbabwe released from jail

Reuters HARARE (Reuters) — A U.S. citizen accused of attempting to subvert Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s government was released from Zimbabwe’s maximum security jail on Friday, a day after the High Court ordered her to be freed on bail, Reuters witnesses said.

Judge Clement Phiri ruled on Thursday that there was a “patent absence of facts” in the state’s case against 25-year-old Martha O’Donovan, whose arrest last week centred on accusations she insulted 93-year-old Mugabe in a Twitter post. She denies the accusation. State prosecutors accuse O’Donovan of writing a Twitter post in October calling Mugabe a “selfish and sick man.”

The government has since last year been targeting activists and government critics who use social media to speak out against Mugabe, cash shortages in banks and a foreign currency crunch that has caused a sharp rise in prices.

Amnesty International said it feared O’Donovan would not be the last to be arrested in the government’s “clamp down on social media platforms”.

Activist pastor Evan Mawarire, whose #ThisFlag movement last year organised the biggest stay-at-home demonstration in a decade, is on trial on a charge of subversion. He faces a separate trial for a similar offence.Speech

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