In Zimbabwe, Mugabe monitors Facebook comments too

[Ordinary person] Vikas Mavhudzi remains in detention more than a month after his arrest for comments he made about President Robert Mugabe on the Facebook page of opposition leader and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

He was arrested on 24 February in Bulawayo on allegations of plotting to overthrow Mugabe’s government. His detention is linked to his Facebook posting supporting mass protests in Egypt and other Middle Eastern and North African countries.His comment read: “I am overwhelmed. What happened in Egypt is sending shockwaves to dictators around the world. No weapon but unity of purpose worth emulating, hey.”

The state argued that through this Facebook comment, Mavhudzi had suggested to Tsvangirai that it was possible to take over the government by unconstitutional means.Mavhudzi made a brief appearance in court following his arrest, but was denied bail on the grounds that he posed a threat to public safety.

But his lawyers have appealed to the High Court, arguing the state had failed to prove that Mavhudzi, who was described as a simple and unsophisticated man, could pose a threat to the safety of the public and security of the state.

Mavhudzi is apparently the first person in the region to be charged for comments posted on Facebook. Reporters Without Borders has joined the Lawyers for Human Rights in Zimbabwe in condemning his detention.


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