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Man strip-searched and held for 24 hours over friend’s ‘joke text’ about sabotaging a train

Claire Ellicott
UK Daily Mail [1]
Monday, May 4, 2009

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.



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.’

Full article here [1]