Facebook Comment Leads To Arrest In Zimbabwe

from the free-speech-isn't-free dept

Slashdot points us to a report out of Zimbabwe, claiming that a guy has been arrested for a Facebook comment. Apparently he commented on the Facebook page that supposedly belongs to the country's Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, where he said:
"I am overwhelmed, I don't want to say Mr. or PM what happened in Egypt is sending shockwaves to dictators around the world. No weapon but unity of purpose worth emulating, hey."
The guy was actually arrested before the police realized what he had written. An anonymous tipster claimed that the guy had sent a "security threat" via his phone, so he was arrested. Police then searched his phone and found that message. He's now been charged with "advocating or attempting to take-over government by unconstitutional means," and prosecutors have asked for him to be denied bail. Seems like an extreme response to a simple Facebook comment.
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Filed Under: comments, facebook, free speech, zimbabwe


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2011 @ 10:25pm

    "advocating or attempting to take-over government by unconstitutional means,"

    Oh, so it was just a procedure he failed to follow...? Yeesh.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2011 @ 11:03pm

    Yes, because an unarmed (or poorly armed) civilian is likely to take over a relatively powerful government with a heavily armed army that outnumbers the civilian by a huge margin with absolutely no trouble at all. It's like taking candy from a baby.

    I can imagine 100 heavily armed cops surrounding the unarmed civilian, with helicopters and swat teams, saying "come out with your hands up" as if the civilian will somehow magically become practically invincible and able to substantially challenge the police force with a powerfully dangerous resistance and, because of this highly likely possibility, all of that police armament is fully justified.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      athe, 8 Mar 2011 @ 11:13pm

      Re:

      I think his western name was Sam Fisher.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Mar 2011 @ 6:47am

      Re:

      "I can imagine 100 heavily armed cops surrounding the unarmed civilian, with helicopters and swat teams, saying "come out with your hands up" as if the civilian will somehow magically become practically invincible and able to substantially challenge the police force with a powerfully dangerous resistance and, because of this highly likely possibility, all of that police armament is fully justified."

      Hey, if I can do it in GTA, why couldn't I do it in real life? Now, if only I could find some of those flamethrowers lying around...or a tank...I'm not picky.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Sean T Henry (profile), 9 Mar 2011 @ 8:16am

      Re:

      "Yes, because an unarmed (or poorly armed) civilian is likely to take over a relatively powerful government with a heavily armed army that outnumbers the civilian by a huge margin with absolutely no trouble at all. It's like taking candy from a baby."

      You do realize that even though the military owns its soldiers that those soldiers are still citizens of the country and may be sympathetic to the civilians.

      If citizens are unarmed and have no means to fight what do they do? They have large groups join the military and start the revolution from the inside, taking over the military or parts of it enabling them to fight and get the means to its civilians.


      I hope this comment does not get me arrested ;)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Mar 2011 @ 8:19am

        Re: Re:

        What's scary is that the U.S. military is infested with gangs. At least I've seen a whole episode of gangland about it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jay (profile), 8 Mar 2011 @ 11:07pm

    I give it about 4 more weeks...

    Then we're going to hear about a revolt in Zimbabwe. Any internet cookies on this one?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Matthew A. Sawtell (profile), 9 Mar 2011 @ 3:42am

    To average Commie - Facebook is merely a tool to take them down...

    There has been a leary mindset in silicon valley and elsewhere when Ms. Clinton and President Obama that encapsulates why folks like Uncle Bob absolutely loathe and hate websites like Facebook, a mindset that any form of communication that is not under their tight control is just a "tool of a foreign government used to take them out of power". People tend to forget the situation in Soviet Moscow during the Watergate Incident, where the Kremlin was stunned at how the Washington Post was able to report on President Nixon's actions.

    Do not be surprised if more countries take the P.R. China approach and outright block access and the use of websites like this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Hephaestus (profile), 9 Mar 2011 @ 7:14am

      Re: To average Commie - Facebook is merely a tool to take them down...

      "Do not be surprised if more countries take the P.R. China approach and outright block access and the use of websites like this."

      At which point tools will be developed that use encryption and that route around the block. The routing around has already happened in egypt and lybia via sneaker net and friends outside the country, its the next game of wac-a-mole, trying to prevent people from communicating.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Matthew A. Sawtell, 9 Mar 2011 @ 10:30am

        Re: Re: To average Commie - Facebook is merely a tool to take them down...

        I think Mike had an article about the fellow who was the architech for the "Great Firewall" a couple of weeks ago - to which he (and the CCP) stated that the process was ongoing - as evidenced by the latest spat between them and foreign reporters.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    silvo, 9 Mar 2011 @ 4:12am

    This seems like the case of 'Give use a man and we will find an article to charge him with'.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    abc gum, 9 Mar 2011 @ 5:10am

    Totalitarianism, coming to a government near you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), 9 Mar 2011 @ 7:04am

    But...

    But... but... REVOLUTION!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    btr1701 (profile), 10 Mar 2011 @ 11:07am

    Comments

    Everyone should go to Morgan Tsvangirai's Facebook page and make similar comments. It's not like they can't arrest anyone outside Zimbabwe for saying that overthrowing dictators is a good thing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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