Zimbabwe Man Arrested Over Mugabe Balloon Comment

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In this Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012 photo, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe blows candles for his birthday cake at the celebrations of his 88th birthday in Mutare, about 300 kilometers east of the capital Harare. Mugabe who turned 88 on the Feb. 21 becomes one of the oldest African leaders and is set to contest in upcoming Presidential elections in the country.(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi) | ap

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — A lawyers group says police arrested a carpenter who questioned whether Zimbabwe's president still had the strength to blow up balloons at his 88th birthday celebrations.

The independent Lawyers for Human Rights said Wednesday the carpenter was arrested after watching Saturday's celebrations on television in a bar.

The group says the man has been charged under laws making it an offense to insult President Robert Mugabe and is to reappear in court March 12 to face a fine.

Such arrests for remarks seen as undermining Mugabe's authority are frequent. Loyalists of Mugabe alleged they overheard the carpenter referring to Mugabe's ailing health and doubting he could inflate a balloon.


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