Federal Justice Dismissed Kevin Guerra for his Statements on Twitter

National Gendarmerie had pressed charges against the 20 year old in April 2020 as a result of activities of mass surveillance on social media officially referred to as “cyber patrols”. He was dismissed in late 2020.

On April 7, 2020, Kevin Guerra asked on Twitter “For those of us who do not collect the 10 thousand peso bonus, does the looting still stand?”, replicating a meme he had seen on Facebook.

The sub-directorate of Investigation of Technological Crimes of the National Gendarmerie was carrying out a “cyber patrol on social networks”, it captured Kevin’s post, generated an “early warning” and filed a criminal complaint against the young man. The Gendarmerie searched Twitter for “loot / quarantine / Argentina” and concluded that the posting was a crime. The provincial prosecutor agreed with this criterion and ordered the opening of a criminal proceeding against Kevin. Two days later, the Police of the Province of Buenos Aires notified the young man at his home that he was accused of the crime of public intimidation established in article 211 of the Penal Code. The provincial prosecutor Moure understood that Kevin’s expression was so serious that it should be investigated by federal justice, since “it appears without any hesitation that national security was compromised, which justifies the intervention of the exceptional jurisdiction.”

CELS presented itself as Kevin’s defendant. We requested the declaration of nullity of all actions taken in the context of the Gendarmería’s illegal intelligence tasks and the dismissal of the case for absence of a crime.

The federal prosecutor who received the case estimated that Kevin’s statement was not a crime and the Federal Court N ° 3 of Mar del Plata agreed and dismissed Kevin for inexistence of an offense.

Although he dismissed Kevin, the federal judge did not analyze the illegality of the “cyber-patrol” carried out by the National Gendarmerie with which the process began. The Gendarmerie shielded itself from Resolution 31/2018, which enabled it to search for information in open digital sources to investigate some offenses, such as the sale of weapons or the sexual exploitation of children. However, this type of query in open internet sources without a defined criminal suspicion is illegal intelligence activity that was carried out by the Gendarmería.