Twitter Joke Led To Terror Act Arrest

When a heavy snowfall threatened to delay his travel plans to Ireland, Paul Chambers didn’t think twice and published a tweet to vent his frustration. “Robin Hood airport is closed,” he wrote. “You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together, otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!”

Although it was meant to be a joke to amuse his friends, but one of his followers thought otherwise. He or she immediately alerted the police and Chambers was arrested under the Terrorism Act on suspicion of conspiring to create a bomb hoax and taken into police custody where he was questioned for seven hours. Not only did he miss his holiday trip and was interrogated by the officials, Chambers was even suspended from work by his unsympathetic employer and banned from entering Doncaster airport for life.

“I would never have thought, in a thousand years, that any of this would have happened because of a Twitter post,” said 26-year-old Chambers. “I’m the most mild-mannered guy you could imagine.”

“My first thought upon hearing it was the police was that perhaps a member of my family had been in an accident,” he added. “Then they said I was being arrested under the Terrorism Act and produced a piece of paper. It was a print-out of my Twitter page. That was when it dawned on me.”

Apparently, the police seemed to not know what Twitter was all about and was unable to comprehend the intended humor in his tweet. “I had to explain Twitter to them in its entirety because they’d never heard of it. Then they asked all about my home life, and how work was going, and other personal things,” he said. “The lead investigator kept asking, ‘Do you understand why this is happening?’ and saying, ‘It is the world we live in’.”

Even though Chambers claimed that the online comment is merely a joke and has no intention in performing a terror act, but Tessa Mayes, an expert on privacy law and free speech issues, said: “Making jokes about terrorism is considered a thought crime, mistakenly seen as a real act of harm or intention to commit harm.

Chambers has been bailed until 11 February, pending further investigations.

Via Telegraph and Independent