Zimbabwe's first 'Facebook trial' collapses

September 21, 2011 - 9:45 AM

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Defense attorneys in Zimbabwe say the case against a man accused of inciting a political uprising on Facebook has collapsed.

Attorney Lizwe Jamela said Wednesday that the police computer unit had failed to retrieve the message as evidence and so the court threw out the subversion charge.

A 39-year-old businessman had been accused of posting a message on Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Facebook wall urging him to lead North Africa-style protests in Zimbabwe.

The businessman spent a month in jail in May before being freed on bail.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has been in power for more than 30 years, and has cracked down on public debate about the Arab Spring that has toppled other longtime rulers on the continent.