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UK Politician Arrested Over Twitter 'Stoning Joke' 422

Posted by samzenpus
from the watch-how-you-tweet dept.
History's Coming To writes "The BBC is reporting that a Tory city councillor has been arrested over a 'joke' he posted to Twitter suggesting that Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, a UK based writer, be stoned to death. The full tweet read, 'Can someone please stone Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to death? I shan't tell Amnesty if you don't. It would be a blessing, really.' Following complaints he was arrested under the Communications Act 2003 and bailed. He has since apologized. This comes on the same day that a conviction for a Twitter 'joke' about blowing up an airport was upheld."
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UK Politician Arrested Over Twitter 'Stoning Joke'

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  • Re:Torn... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Theaetetus (590071) <theaetetus.slash ... .com minus distr> on Thursday November 11, 2010 @02:28PM (#34198836) Homepage Journal

    On the other hand, saying "oh come on guys, it was just a joke!" seems like it could easily turn into the "insanity" plea.

    Unlikely. See, what most people don't know and never bother to find out because they're too busying being incensed over people "getting off" under an insanity plea, is that while you don't go to jail if you plead insanity, you instead go to a prison mental ward... where you can be kept forever. That's right - if you just plead out of a 10-20 year sentence by claiming you were insane, you just opted into a potential life sentence. The state can keep you locked up in the mental ward until they believe you're completely sane. And since they don't like people who claim to be insane, they don't rush to release you.

    So, yeah, I don't think people will say "oh, come on, it was just a joke," when the result is being locked up for the rest of their lives.

  • Nanny state (Score:3, Informative)

    by Teun (17872) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @02:34PM (#34198910) Homepage
    The UK has in the last 15-odd years become the example Nanny State.

    A day doesn't pass that either one of the tabloids is blasting the government for not acting on a perceived threat or an official or government department coming out with what should really be considered an outrageous policy.

    A nice one was (yesterday?) the stopping of the head of MI6 from boarding a plane to the US because she had a can of hairspray larger than the allowed 100 milliliters in her bag.

    Yes it's outside of the allowance but hey she's not exactly your typical terrist!

    In the UK common sense has been outlawed.

  • Re:Asshat (Score:5, Informative)

    by gmack (197796) <gmack@NOsPAM.innerfire.net> on Thursday November 11, 2010 @02:35PM (#34198924) Homepage Journal

    Not that it entirely defends his poor joke but he was reacting to her recent assertion that politicians have no right to criticize human rights abuses such as stoning women in Iran.

  • Re:Doing in wrong... (Score:4, Informative)

    by CraftyJack (1031736) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @02:35PM (#34198926)
    Yep. For those that need a refresher [wikipedia.org].
  • Re:Stupid (Score:5, Informative)

    by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @03:14PM (#34199406)

    You need to put it his comments in context. She said that UK politicians have no right to comment on things like stoning of women in Iran, presumably because that's a Muslim thing and she's a "political correctness" extremist who would sooner allow an innocent teenager to die a horrible death than dare insult precious male Muslim feelings. He shouldn't have even apologized, never mind get arrested. It's obviously a sarcastic response to her comments and in no way an incitement to violence.

  • by jmac_the_man (1612215) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @03:40PM (#34199726)
    The joke is that the woman who he "said should be stoned" said that no British politician should be able to complain about stoning in Muslim countries, because Muslim culture allows for stoning.
    He then "said she should be stoned."
    The implication here is that she has no right to complain about him wanting to have someone stoned.
  • Re:Torn... (Score:3, Informative)

    by CannonballHead (842625) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @04:52PM (#34200678)

    Worthless? Pointing out that what the previous post said happened, as though it happened all the time, does not happen all the time? I guess a percentage would be nice. I haven't found one yet.

    So we're stuck apparently. Neither of us has the numbers you want, right? I'm not sure why the burden of proof is on me at this point.

    Unfortunately, I have looked/read online and can only find usage and "success" rates, but not rates of success getting a lower time-served sentence (asylum vs. prison).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 11, 2010 @04:56PM (#34200718)

    It's rhetorical when the person he is talking about just said that no one has the right to say anything about human rights abuses including stoning people to death in Iran.

    You: Hey, don't say anything about it not being OK to lynch black people. It's fine.

    Me: I think _YOU_ should be lynched.

    You: Oh My God!! Police! Police! This guy is trying to get me lynched!!! Arrest him!

    But, with the internet.

  • Re:Nanny state (Score:3, Informative)

    by Teun (17872) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @05:20PM (#34200966) Homepage
    What I meant is the tabloids are fuelling this drive towards more legislation by amplifying the voice of the silly.
  • Re:Asshat (Score:3, Informative)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @07:03PM (#34201966) Journal

    >>>Your freedom to swing your words stops at deathtreats.

    Not in the US where the supreme court has ruled again-and-again that speech is fully protected. The only exception is if the person issuing the death-threat is holding a gun or knife at the time, and the victim is in immediatee danger. This politician clearly wasn't endangering anybody since he was nowhere near the victim.

  • by Xest (935314) on Friday November 12, 2010 @05:13AM (#34204860)

    Are you fucking kidding?

    There's a hell of a lot wrong with this country but that's not one of the problems. The UK has been one of the most active in the world in dealing with the problem of arranged marriages, and other abuse. We've been pouring a fortune into it with a number of high profile convictions, as well as countless other cases of assisting people in getting out of those kind of situations. Our country even intervenes politically and legally as far as it can in situations where people have been taken to other countries, such as Pakistan to be married on.

    Perhaps the reason you hear about the UK in this context is precisely because we're one of the few countries in the world that does deal with the problem rather than sweep it under the carpet. We even have specific precedent whereby if someone has been pushed into an arrange marriage they can have it anulled specifically on that basis without having to worry about the usual divorce proceedings-

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/teenager-wins-battle-to-annul-arranged-marriage-658001.html [independent.co.uk]

    If you were looking for a reason to slag off the UK, this wasn't it. Pick one of the thousands of other reasons, like, I don't know, perhaps the fact people are being arrested merely for saying something on Twitter as in TFA?

  • Re:Doing in wrong... (Score:3, Informative)

    by h4rm0ny (722443) on Friday November 12, 2010 @05:49AM (#34204960) Journal
    Oh if only. And then those that abuse it further. There's a better bit of coverage here [guardian.co.uk]. For Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to report a comment like this as a genuine incitement to murder, is dishonest. He was also responding to her comments saying that politicians had no right to criticise anyone for human rights abuses, including her saying that they shouldn't criticise stonings in Iran. So it seems she feels that one shouldn't criticise actual stonings taking place, but that suggesting unseriously that someone should be stoned, is an arrestable offence. So in her mind, it's wrong to even speak out against actual brutal murders, but merely talking about them gets you arrested, loss of job, etc.
  • by tehcyder (746570) on Friday November 12, 2010 @07:35AM (#34205314) Journal
    Was that, since the Iraq war and allegations of torture by British troops, she did not think British politicians were qualified to criticise human rights abuses in China. Anyone who reads this as approval of the stoning of women in Iran is a fucking idiot.

An age is called Dark not because the light fails to shine, but because people refuse to see it. -- James Michener, "Space"

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