SAO PAULO – The head of Google’s Brazilian operations, Fabio Jose Silva Coelho, was arrested on Wednesday for failing to remove from the Internet several videos deemed slanderous by a Brazilian electoral court.
The Regional Electoral Court in the western state of Mato Grosso do Sul ordered the arrest, the Federal Police said in a communique.
The crime, the announcement said, carries a punishment of a year in jail, but since this is “a crime of minor offensive potential,” Coelho will be released after signing a pledge to present himself for court proceedings.
Judge Flavio Saad Peron on Sept. 20 ordered Coelho to be arrested for not having removed from YouTube two videos that allegedly slander a candidate for mayor of Campo Grande, Alcides Bernal.
Coelho’s attorneys filed a habeas corpus motion challenging the judge’s order, although the request was denied.
Google declared that it will appeal the court’s decision because, as a Web platform, it is not responsible for content.
Even so, Judge Peron also issued an order to the telecommunications firm Embratel to remove the YouTube Web page for 24 hours in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul.
This is the second case of this kind against Google in Brazil in the two weeks after on Sept. 14 the electoral court of Paraiba state decreed that another executive be jailed after being accused of disobedience for not removing a video that offended a municipal candidate in that region.
In addition, the firm was fined 1 million reais ($492,000) per day in the state of Parana for making available for viewing three videos against the mayor of the town of Cascavel, Edgar Bueno, who is running for reelection. EFE