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Jailed for 4 years for Facebook messaging

NameNotFound's column

Published time: August 17, 2011 09:59

Were it not in Great Britain, the mainstream media would be ecstatic.

But as it were, it happened nowhere else but in Cheshire, UK.

Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan, aged 22, and Jordan Blackshaw, 20, were sentenced on Tuesday to 4 years in one of Her Majesty’s prisons.

Their crime? "Encouraging of riots" on Facebook.

Since the riots occurred only last week, the justice was swift in thе extreme.

Never mind that according to the Guardian newspaper, "Neither of their Facebook posts resulted in a riot-related event."

British law enforcement feels very proud of itself. "We quickly recognised the impact of the situation on our communities and the way in which social media was being used to promote and incite behaviour that would strike fear in to the hearts of our communities," says a Cheshire Constabulary spokesman.

That might as well be a Chinese policemen talking. Or Tunisian. Or Egyptian.

Speaking of Egypt.

A few days ago, one Asmaa Mahfouz was arrested in Cairo and charged with…incitement to violence on social networks.

Mahfouz, 26, allegedly used her Facebook and Twitter pages to call for armed insurrection against the Supreme Council of Armed Forces which has been ruling the country after Mubarak.

US newspapers did not miss a chance to come out with headlines like: EGYPT: Rights groups condemn military trial for popular activist. (LA Times) Mahfouz walked out of the court, released on bail.

The less a country is inclined to share Western values – the louder the screams in the Western media.

Anybody remember Ai Weiwei, a citizen of the People's Republic of China? The guy was actually detained on tax evasion and financial data forgery charges. But hey – it's evil Chinese communists, right? Surely all they wanted was to intimidate the sworn enemy of the government, who likes to vent his anger about the system over – hello again there – social media?

Thе United States and the European Union spared no effort protesting Ai's detention while the mainstream media happily circulated wild stories of alleged abuse , even torture that Ai supposedly underwent while in jail.

Look, nobody is saying a stretch in a Chinese jail – or British jail for that matter – is a cakewalk.

Messrs Sutcliffe-Keenan and Blackshaw of Cheshire may be committed revolutionaries – but then again they might have been talking out of their asses. That seems to be beside the point for police and judges who handed out 4 year sentences so swiftly with one purpose in mind – to set an example for those who dare to protest again.

You have to be narrow minded in the extreme to believe that Chinese or Egyptian online dissidents’ detention is a gross violation of human rights, while jailing the two Britons on very similar charges is nothing but swift justice meted out.

­The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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