American journalist Martha O’ Donovan will face a Zimbabwe court again next week after being freed on bail following charges of subversion. Picture: Reuters/Rogan Ward

Johannesburg – American journalist Martha O’ Donovan will face a Zimbabwe court again next Wednesday after being freed on bail following charges of subversion and accusations of insulting Zimbabwe's 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe, AP reports.

Donovan, who stands accused of labelling Mugabe a “sick man” on Twitter was freed on Thursday after posting $1 000 (about R14 000) bail.

O’Donovan, who works with local social media outlet Magamba TV which describes itself as producing “satirical comedy sensations”, was also ordered to hand over her passport and report to police twice a week.

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Should she be convicted on the subversion charges she faces up to 20 years in prison while insulting the president carries up to a year in prison.

The New Jersey native was arrested last Friday and spent the weekend in jail following the charges which she denies as baseless and malicious.

O’Donovan’s arrest was the first since Mugabe appointed a cyber security minister last month to monitor political dissent on social media.

The group representing O’Donovan, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, says it has represented nearly 200 people charged for allegedly insulting Mugabe, the world’s oldest head of state, in recent years.