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Guatemalan Twitterer accused of causing financial panic escapes trial

10 July 2009  |  5172 views  |  0 handshake

A Guatemalan looks to have escaped trial for inciting financial panic with a tweet, after an appeals court found insufficient evidence to try him, according to Associated Press.

Jean Anleu was charged in May after sending a 96-character tweet that urged depositors to withdraw funds from Guatemala's rural development bank (Banrural).

The bank became embroiled in a political scandal earlier this year when a posthumous video message by lawyer Rodrigo Rosenberg emerged. The video, shot days before Rosenberg was killed, warned that if he died it was because President Alvaro Colom had ordered his assassination.

Rosenberg believed he was in danger following the murder of two clients, businessman Khalil Musa and his daughter Marjorie Musa, in April.

At the beginning of the year Khalil Musa had been summoned by members of Colom's government to join the board of Banrural. Rosenberg says Musa was killed because he was set to reveal government corruption and money laundering relating to the bank.

Following Rosenberg's murder Anleu tweeted in Spanish under the alias "jeanfer": "First concrete action should be take cash out of Banrural and bankrupt the bank of the corrupt."

Officials proved Anleu sent the message by searching his Guatemala City home and he was arrested, accused of undermining public trust in the country's banking system.

However, the appeals court has now ordered the judge to rule the case lacks merit and charges will be dropped today if prosecutors don't appeal first.

Anleu is now looking to recover $6,200 in bail, about half of which was donated by twitterers sending money via PayPal.

Guatemalan court rules in favor of tweet author - AP

Rodrigo Rosenberg's YouTube video

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