Zimbabwe makes arrest over Facebook comment

Zimbabwe makes arrest over Facebook comment

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

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TOPICS: Government, Security
43

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 Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

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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43 comments
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  • RE: Zimbabwe makes arrest over Facebook comment

    Just a matter of time before this kind of police action takes place here.
    Brick Tamland
    • RE: Zimbabwe makes arrest over Facebook comment

      @Brick Tamland
      I think it more or less how you say and what you say. For example - This teacher is not any good because of XYZ... and facts that's free speeck. This teacher is bad because he/she looks funny or looked at that girl/boy in a seductive manner is gay or touches kids... is not free speech- it's the abuse of free speech. And if you posted something dangerous on a Gov't site, that was threatening then yes it's wrong. If you say the Gov't is not any good because it's way to freaking liberal and is doomed to failure as most liberal Gov't are then that is free speech.
      ItsTheBottomLine
      • RE: Zimbabwe makes arrest over Facebook comment

        @ItsTheBottomLine
        You make no sense and you have no understanding of African politics. If you do not support the ruler you are an enemy and may be eliminated.
        kengelbrecht@...
    • RE: Zimbabwe makes arrest over Facebook comment

      @Brick Tamland
      Where's here?
      stephen@...
    • RE: Zimbabwe makes arrest over Facebook comment

      @Brick Tamland
      Where is "here"?
      tom@...
    • RE: Zimbabwe makes arrest over Facebook comment

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      yannakhoro
  • RE: Zimbabwe makes arrest over Facebook comment

    Some schools here expel students who make comments about teachers on Facebook also. Employers also react harshly to employees who post what they consider to be offensive. I really wonder what happened to our Constitutionally protected rights to free speech in the Internet age? But in order to fight these police state actions in court, you'd have to be as rich as Bill Gates!
    Starman35
    • RE: Zimbabwe makes arrest over Facebook comment

      @Starman35

      What's funny is there is an actual site out there where you can post comments and reviews on different teachers and whether or not they are good/bad..and it's still there to my knowledge.

      www.ratemyteachers.com

      The parents of the student expelled for posting should use this as an argument as there are literally thousands of ratings on this site, many negative, and no one has been expelled over it.
      Brick Tamland
      • Facebook

        @Brick Tamland You people don't seem have enough of a clue to understand the difference between saying a teacher is a bad teacher and calling him a pedophile or a rapist. Pretty pathetic.
        brister@...
      • RE: Zimbabwe makes arrest over Facebook comment

        @Brick Tamland A man is in prison for the alleged thoughts inside his head. Can we please stop talking about teachers?
        Graham Ellison
    • RE: Zimbabwe makes arrest over Facebook comment

      @Starman35
      Our Constitutional guaranteed right to free speech only applies to the government, not private entities. And even then, there are limits, such as falsely yelling "Fire!" in a crowded space.

      Since you are apparently unaware of the right, here is the first amendment to the Constitution where it is spelled out for you, and others who may need the refresher:

      "Amendment I
      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
      steve@...
      • RE: Zimbabwe makes arrest over Facebook comment

        @steve@... Thank you!
        ItsTheBottomLine
      • RE: Zimbabwe makes arrest over Facebook comment

        @steve@...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUwGIwqtxJE
        tampaj
    • RE: Zimbabwe makes arrest over Facebook comment

      @Starman35 It collided with the bosses constitutional right not to have to employ an ill mannered ungrateful turd.
      spin498
    • It's a game...

      @Starman35

      http://spiritualeconomicsnow.net/

      Read the article: ?EVIL? VS. ?INSANE?
      smdunn
      • RE: Zimbabwe makes arrest over Facebook comment

        The fact that you can create and upload not only your own individual levels, but also /entire episodes/ of your own misanthropic creation is an unspeakably awesome addition for an already unspeakably awesome game. <a href="http://www.perfectreplicawatch.co.uk/">wrist watches</a>
        biasedfans
  • RE: Zimbabwe makes arrest over Facebook comment

    it just shows you how paranoid governments are becoming, including our own. The end may be closer than most realize.
    cballinger@...
    • RE: Zimbabwe makes arrest over Facebook comment

      @cballinger@... Thank you chicken little.
      ItsTheBottomLine
    • RE: Zimbabwe makes arrest over Facebook comment

      @cballinger@... The problem is that governments realize more and more people are ready for civil war over limited resources.

      Governments enforce internal national peace via compromise (which means I have to share and do not get what I want). Often the power to maintain peace comes from favoring the current power groups --which tends to concentrates wealth and privilege, compounding resentment.

      The higher the population density and the more diverse the ethnic and ideological demographics the worse the suppression of individual dreams for the greater good -- and the more likely for government to dissolve into

      anarchy where grievances between individual and groups can truly and permanently be resolved via murder and genocide.
      wellduh
  • RE: Zimbabwe makes arrest over Facebook comment

    Folks, this is why we left England and fought many bloody battles over the years to keep governments small and in check. The ignorance of our population and its distaste for history is going to cause us to go through the same thing all over again unless we start reducing the size and scope of our government. It is, after all, OUR government. They are OUR agents. We are not theirs. This event in Zimbabwe should be a stark reminder of what happens when government gets too powerful. Zimbabwe, the former Rhodesia, which was once a productive country under white rule, whose land was then stolen and given to the masses. And now look what it has degenerated into.
    DaveMorris