Tuesday, July 14, 2009

First Person to be arrested for Twittering

GUATEMALA CITY — An appeals court found insufficient evidence to warrant the trial of a Guatemalan whose Twitter message led to his arrest on charges of inciting financial panic.

Jean Anleu was arrested and charged in May after sending a 96-character tweet that urged depositors to withdraw funds from a bank involved in a political-murder scandal. The message earned him the unfortunate distinction of becoming one of the first people in the world to be arrested for a tweet.

The new ruling means charges will be dropped Friday if prosecutors don't appeal first. Prosecutor Genaro Pacheco told The Associated Press that he has not been officially informed of the appeals court's decision and has not considered dropping the case.

Anleu found the court's ruling to be "very Twitter-like."

"It's a long legal document but there is a very short sentence that sums it up, like a tweet: The appeals court orders the judge to rule the case lacks merit," Anleu told the Associated press by instant message. "A huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. We still have to see what the prosecution does."

Srikanth Nyshadham