Sep 21, 2011

Mexico Human Rights: Freedom likely for Mexico's 'Twitter Terrorists' "Freedom appears likely for the two people jailed in Mexico's Veracruz state and accused of terrorism for Twitter messages they sent that allegedly sowed panic. ...

Gilberto Martinez Vera (@gilius_22) and Maria de Jesus Bravo Pagola (@MARUCHIBRAVO) were arrested last month after using the micro-blogging site to spread rumors of an attack by drug gangs on a local primary school. They were charged with terrorism and sabotage, crimes that carry penalties of up to 30 years in jail. Human rights and social media advocates were outraged, saying the punishment hardly fit the offense.

The case snowballed into something of an embarrassment for Veracruz Gov. Javier Duarte. On Tuesday, he pushed through a new law that would allow prosecution of rumor-mongers on the lesser charge of disturbing the peace. Many analysts saw this as a face-saving attempt by state authorities to make the case go away.

On Wednesday, Duarte (speaking by, what else? Twitter) said the charges against Martinez, a math teacher, and Bravo, a radio commentator, would be dropped (link in Spanish). Their lawyer, Fidel Ordonez, said he expected the pair to be free by the end of the day."

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