Two individuals were charged with “the dissemination over the social network Twitter of false rumors for the purpose of destabilizing the national banking system…and causing runs on banks.” The two were arrested in Venezuela, by officers of the Scientific, Penal, and Criminalistics Investigations Corps (CICPC).
Luis Enrique Acosta Oxford, 41 years old, and Carmen Cecilia Nares Castro, 35, could face an 11-year prison sentence for Tweeting.
The two began posting rumors about bank takeovers back in March 2010, causing some instability in the markets. The CICPC confiscated a cell phone and other electronic devices during a search it conducted in connection with the arrests.
Wilmer Flores, National Director of the CICPC, wants the arrests to set an example to people about the harms and consequences of Tweeting, and to “[a]ny individual who propagates ill intentioned rumors through any medium.” He notes, that such individuals are “committing a crime and [are] answerable for it to the appropriate authorities.”
Note to self… perhaps practical jokes on Twitter won’t fly in Venezuela…