A 44-year-old man was arrested for making jokes about Nelson Mandela online.
Neil Phillips, a sandwich shop owner from Rugeley, Staffordshire explained how he was questioned for eight hours, had his computer seized and was finger-printed after his jokes were brought to police attention.
Neil posted the jokes on Rugeley Soap Box website, saying: ‘My PC takes so long to shut down I’ve decided to call it Nelson Mandela.’
Another read: ‘Free Mandela – switch the power off.’
Although the posting was made in September, before Mandela’s death, the anti-apartheid icon was very ill at the time.
Neil insists the jokes were harmless, but Liberal Democrat Councillor Tim Jones didn’t think so. Tim Jones was so annoyed by the one-liners that he made an official complaint, which led to Neil’s arrest.
The shop owner now believes freedom of speech is dead, adding that the post got loads of ‘likes’, which makes it OK…
It was a couple of jokes. There was no hatred. I told the police they got plenty of “likes”. What happened to freedom of speech? I think they over-reacted massively. They are jokes that I cut-and-pasted. I didn’t make them up and I didn’t put them on a public site. It’s turning into the thought police – you can’t do this, you can’t do that.