U.K. Politician Arrested for 'Glib' Twitter Threats

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A Tory city council member in the U.K. city of Birmingham has been arrested by local police for comments he posted to his (now-removed) Twitter feed. Councilman Gareth Compton, apparently upset by the newspaper columns written by British pundit Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, posted to Twitter:

Can someone please stone Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to death? I shan't tell Amnesty if you don't. It would be a blessing, really.

Compton was quickly arrested, suspended from the Conservative Party, and, worst of all, compelled to delete his Twitter account. He defended himself somewhat on Twitter and to The Guardian's Peter Walker and David Batty:

In a statement released in a series of tweets, Compton said: "I did not 'call' for the stoning of anybody. I made an ill-conceived attempt at humour in response to Yasmin Alibhai-Brown saying on Radio 5 Live this morning that no politician had the right to comment on human rights abuses, even the stoning of women in Iran. I apologise for any offence caused. It was wholly unintentional."

... Compton said the message posted yesterday on his private Twitter account had been "a glib comment" in response to the writer's appearance on Nicky Campbell's Radio 5 Live breakfast show.

TechDirt's Mike Masnick, noting the recent arrest of Paul Chambers for similarly borderline Tweets, sighs, "Once again, this was a stupid thing to say, and it makes Compton look like a jackass. But should being a total jerk online be illegal? At least in the UK, that seems to be the law now."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.