Here’s how to get yourself thrown in jail for tweeting

I don’t know anybody who doesn’t cringe at the word cunt. Aside from the n word, the c word has to be one of the most offensive words in the english language. It draws out a visceral reaction—call someone a cunt and they instantly make a face like you fed them a turd. In England, they apparently hate it so much that they’ll jail you for tweeting it.

Mashable reports that John Graham Kerlen has been convicted of “grossly offensive malicious communications” for a couple tweets he sent to a city council member of Bexley, a London suburb. He’s now facing jail time for the crime.

Kerlen posted the tweets in question last October. From Mashable:

In October, Kerlen tweeted a photo of a home alleged to be that of Bexley Councillor Melvin Seymour, along with the text: “Which c— lives in a house like this. Answers on a postcard to #bexleycouncil. (ignore my reflection)”

This was followed by another tweet reading, “It’s silly posting a picture of a house on Twitter without an address, that will come later. Please feel free to post actual sh*t.”

Councillor Seymour claims that the second tweet constituted criminal incitement, as it urged people to send poop to his house.

He didn’t receive any actual poop, and it doesn’t sound like Kerlen even tweeted his actual address, but Kerlen was still arrested and tried on the charges. He was found not guilty of “incitement to commit criminal damage” but was convicted of “grossly offensive malicious communications.” He’ll be sentenced in May, and faces up to six months’ jail time.

Kerlen believes he was targeted as a “politically motivated prosecution”—his tension with city council goes back over a year, when he was first banned from city council meetings for filming one of them, something the council frowned on.

Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei wrote a column for The Guardian today in which says the censorship of China and other repressive governments “can never defeat the internet.” Even as governments try to exert control, voices will find a way to flourish. And it seems like Kerlen himself has no intention of being silenced. Commenting on his impending jail time, he said, “Would I do it all again? You bet your fucking arse I would.”