An innocent man was strip-searched and held in a cell for 24 hours after receiving a joke text message from a friend about sabotaging a train.
The 29-year-old was arrested after his mobile phone provider passed on details of the message to police – who accused him of not reporting a crime.
The case, which happened in France, provoked widespread outrage about the ‘sinister’ march of the Big Brother state there.
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The man, referred to only by his first name of Stephane, received a message saying ‘Do you know how to de-rail a train?’ last month in Abbeville, in the Somme region.
The woodworker thought nothing of the text but hours later he was arrested.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
Detectives said his mobile provider had passed on details of the message. They claimed Stephane should have called the police as soon as he received the text.
Stephane said: ‘I was strip-searched and forced to hand over the name of my colleague who had sent the message.
‘Then the court gave an order that I could be held for up to 24 hours. It was a real shock. In two seconds I felt I had become a vulgar criminal.
‘I was held in a prison cell which smelled of urine. I felt I was being treated like a dog.’