2 Mexicans Face 30 Years in Prison for Tweet

edwardquilo - September 5, 2011 10:22AM in General News

In today's age of Twitter and Facebook, most people find tweeting and updating their online status to be a part of their daily lives. But sometimes, you've got to watch what you tweet. A radio commentator and a math tutor are now awaiting trial in a Mexican prison, for tweeting messages that allegedly was the cause for the widespread panic that erupted in the city of Veracruz. Roads were littered with vehicle crashes, and frightened parents abandoned their cars on the road in a rush to get to their children, because of a false report that gunmen were targeting schools. 

"My sister-in-law just called me all upset, they just kidnapped five children from the school."

Apparently, the above tweet made by tutor Gilberto Martinez Vera, was the final straw for the terrified Veracruz citizens, already on edge after weeks of enduring local violence from drug traffickers. A similar distressing message was also retweeted by radio commentator Maria de Jesus Bravo Pagola. If found guilty, both defendants could face a maximum 30-year sentence for terrorism and sabotage. 

The defendants maintain that they were merely transmitting information that was given to them, and that they meant to cause no harm. In a country where the threat of violence is almost commonplace, some citizens and even authorities have used social media to warn others about potential dangers. Human rights groups have already initiated petitions to have the defendants released, citing the accusations as unwarranted and exaggerated.