Twitter posts in México could land couple in prison
MEXICO (BDCi) – Social websites can be uses as a platform to share your thoughts and opinions, but perhaps for the government in Mexico, two people have taken it too far and now they could be facing thirty years behind bars for a few misinformed tweets.
The state of Veracruz on Mexico’s gulf coast have assessed charges including terrorism and sabotage against a man and a woman responsible for circulating rumors of an attack by drug gangs towards a primary school.
The messages provoked chaos and deep concerns among parents in Veracruz, the state’s port city by the same name, alleged the government.
Many of these parents rushed to take their children out of classes on August 25th, only days after the school year began.
The Veracruz state interior secretary told reporters that more than two dozen car accidents were related to the rumors.
In turn, Gilberto Martinez Vera and Maria de Jesus Bravo Pagola are in jail facing charges that could place them behind bars for 30 years.
The pair’s lawyer stated that the Mexican government is unfairly making an example of Martinez, 47, a math teacher, and Bravo,57, a popular journalist and radio commentator.
“There was no intent on their part to generate this situation,” their attorney said. “They simply informed, incorrectly, but they informed.”
The attorney, Fidel Ordonez, argued that more Mexicans are using Twitter and Facebook to update information to one another on violent incidents.
However the information on social websites is protected free speech, Ordonez said from the Veracruz capital of Xalapa, but free speech is still under attack by the government.
An economist in Xalapa and a frequent Twitter user, Roman Cotera agreed that Martinez and Bravo have spread rumors about violence at Veracruz schools, however he considers it reasonable since more than 40,000 people have died in Mexico’s drug war, many of them civilians.
“Everyone feels persecuted now,” Cortera said in a telephone interview. “On one side it’s the violent incidents, and on the other it’s the repression on the part of the state.”
Cortera added, “already today, Monday, we’ve had four dead in this part of Veracruz, and no official information from the government.”
Meanwhile, Ordonez’s office has asked the federal judge, on Monday to have Martinez and Bravo released.
By: Shayla Selva
Source: Los Angeles Times
Photo courtesy of memeburn
September 9, 2011
11:20 a.m. (PDT)