Reporters Without Borders welcomes Internet user Vikas Mavhudzi’s release on bail on 31 March by the high court of the southwestern city of Bulawayo. Pending his trial, for which no date has yet been set, he is forbidden to travel more than 40 km out of Bulawayo.
The press freedom organization urges the authorities to withdraw the subversion charge that was brought against him. He was arrested on 24 February for posting a message about Egypt’s revolution on Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Facebook page.
Facebook user jailed for message supporting Arab revolutions
Reporters Without Borders condemns Internet user Vikas Mavhudzi’s detention for the past month on a charge of advocating the government’s overthrow in a message he posted on Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Facebook page. He is to remain in prison until his trial, for which no date has yet been set.
Mavhudzi, 39, posted a message highlighting the impact of Egypt’s revolution and indicating his support for peaceful protests. “I am overwhelmed,” the message said. “What happened in Egypt is sending shockwaves to dictators around the world. No weapon but unity of purpose worth emulating, hey.”
Mavhudzi was arrested on 24 February in the southwestern city of Bulawayo, where a judge refused to release him on bail on the grounds that he posed a threat to public safety. He has appealed to the High Court.
Reporters Without Borders calls for his immediate release and the withdrawal of the charges against him.
The authorities in Zimbabwe, like those in Equatorial Guinea and Sudan, have clearly been shaken by the scale of the unrest in the Arab world and are being extremely vigilant about content circulating online and inside the country.
A total of 45 government opponents including Munyaradzi Gwisai, the head of a group called the International Socialist Organization, were arrested on treason charges on 19 February for watching video footage of the Egyptian protests at a public meeting. They have been freed pending trial but are still facing a possible death sentence.