UK councillor arrested for stoning tweet

2010-11-11 22:41

London - A British local government councillor was arrested after posting a Twitter message saying that a Muslim female journalist should be stoned to death, police said on Thursday.

Police questioned Gareth Compton, 38, a Conservative party member of Birmingham City Council in central England, following the comment about newspaper columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown on Wednesday.

The post on the microblogging site, which has since been removed, reportedly read: "Can someone please stone Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to death? I shan't tell Amnesty if you don't. It would be a blessing, really."

Compton apologised in a further Twitter message on Thursday, saying the earlier post was an "ill conceived attempt at humour" after Alibhai-Brown said on a radio show that politicians were not qualified to comment on rights abuses including the stoning of women.

"I apologise for any offence caused. It was wholly unintentional," he wrote.

A spokeswoman for West Midlands Police confirmed that a 38-year-old man had been arrested "on suspicion of sending an offensive or indecent message" and had since been freed on bail pending further inquiries.

Alibhai-Brown, who writes for The Independent and London's Evening Standard, said she was shocked by the comments.

"It's really upsetting. My teenage daughter is really upset too. It's really scared us," she told The Guardian newspaper.

The Conservative party, which leads Britain's governing coalition, said Compton had been suspended from the party pending the results of the police investigation.

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