Twitterer cuffed for provoking 'financial panic'
Possible jail time for Guatemalan twittero
A Guatemalan who apparently threatened his country's financial stability by posting a provocative tweet regarding the Banrural bank faces up to three years in jail, Chile's El Mercurio reports.
Jean Anléu Fernández last week said: "First concrete action, withdraw cash from Banrural, bring down this corrupt bank."
Police cuffed the twittero on Friday and confiscated his computer on the grounds he might cause "financial panic" and "undermine the confidence" of the bank's clients.
The arrest follows a recent declaration by Guatemala's superintendent of banks, Edgar Barquín, that legal action would be taken against anyone rocking the financial boat - specifically "writing, reporting or reproducing false or innacurate information by any means of communication which undermines confidence in a banking institution".
However, some are suggesting the arrest was motivated less by a genuine fear that uncontrolled Twittering could bring Guatemala to its fiscal knees, and more by a desire on the part of president Alvaro Colom to send a strong message to those who exercise the right to free speech online.
Colom is currently embroiled in a major scandal following the assassination earlier this month of lawyer Rodrigo Rosenberg, who left a sensational video, to be released in the event of his murder, which places the blame firmly on the president's doorstep.
Unsurprisingly, Colom is taking plenty of flak from outraged citizens, with the local blogosphere contributing plenty of unfriendly fire. ®
Thanks to Nigel Callaghan for the tip-off.
> Nevertheless, the intention is clearly to cause economic disruption, which is difficult to condone without extreme justification.
Agreed. The extreme justification appears to be that the government is using the bank for money laundering and to hide other illegal activities while happily assassinating The Good People of the country who are trying to restore a political system worth living under or at least don't want to me made part of their crimes. See e.g. http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&safe=off&q=site%3Aboingboing.net+guatemala+rosenberg+Banrural+&btnG=Search&meta=&aq=f&oq=
You've completely misread it. "Banrural is corrupt, so I withdrew all my money from them" is stating one's view and what one has done in response. He wrote in the imperative, encouraging others to withdraw cash from the bank with the goal of causing it's collapse. Granted, this is not providing "false or inaccurate information", nor does it directly "undermine confidence in a banking institution". Nevertheless, the intention is clearly to cause economic disruption, which is difficult to condone without extreme justification.
@Don't want to nit pick
"Do they HAVE a formalised right to free speach in Guatemala?
Or indeed "speech", in the spirit of nit picking
As for soft fruit freedoms, these are equally unclear at time of writing.
@A Twitter user
'is a "Twit", surely'
although "Twat" better conveys the personality type?