A Brazilian judge at an elections court this week ordered the arrest of Fabio Jose Silva Coelho, Google’s (Nasdaq: GOOG) top executive in that country, for the company’s failure to take down YouTube videos that are allegedly slandering a local mayoral candidate.
The electoral court ruled Coelho, who is the president of Google Brazil, committed a crime of “disobedience” by not removing the two videos targeted at Campo Grande mayoral candidate Alcides Bernal.
The judge had ordered the removal of the videos last week; however, Google refused the order. A 24-hour suspension of Google and YouTube was also ordered, according to the Associated Press.
Google intends to fight the decision handed down by Judge Flavio Peren of Mato Grosso do Sul, calling into question whether or not the tech giant is responsible for content uploaded to its site by third parties.
“Google is appealing the decision that ordered the removal of the video on YouTube, because, as a platform, Google is not responsible for the content posted to its site,” a Google spokesman in Brazil told the media.
Brazil has strict electoral laws governing prevoting. The law bans any campaign ads offending candidates' "dignity or decorum." Municipal elections will be held Oct. 7.
Google, which set up shop in Brazil in 2005, was ordered by a judge in Paraná state in southern Brazil earlier this month to pay $500,000 for each day it didn’t comply with an order to take down YouTube videos attacking a candidate.
According to CNN, the penalty for disobeying a court order under Brazilian law could be imprisonment for up to six months or a fine.