Zimbabwe makes arrest over Facebook comment

Summary:A Zimbabwe man has been arrested for posting a comment on Facebook about the revolutions in Egypt.

39-year-old Vikas Mavhudzi has become Zimbabwe's first "Facebook arrest" after posting a comment on the social network on February 13, 2011 at about 2PM, according to New Zimbabwe. He is being charged with "subverting a constitutional government" for commenting on a Facebook page allegedly belonging to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Here's his message, according to SW Radio Africa:

I am overwhelmed, I don't want to say Mr. or PM what happened in Egypt is sending shockwaves to dictators around the world. No weapon but unity of purpose worth emulating, hey.

The post was referring to the revolt in Egypt which succeeded in toppling dictator Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak on February 11, 2011 after 18 days of protests. Discussing uprisings against dictators in North Africa is now apparently considered a crime in Zimbabwe.

Police arrested Mavhudzi on February 24, 2011 after receiving an anonymous call that claimed he had sent a "security threat" via his mobile phone. Authorities then went through his phone and discovered the "offending" message in his sent folder.

Prosecutor Jeremiah Mutsindikwa accused Mavhudzi of "advocating or attempting to take-over government by unconstitutional means." Mavhudzi briefly appeared before a city magistrate on March 3, 2011 and was remanded in custody until at least March 9, 2011 after the state opposed bail.

Topics: Government, Security


Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years, he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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