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Google's Brazil chief detained in YouTube electoral law case

RIO DE JANEIRO--Google Inc.'s head of operations in Brazil was detained by the country's federal police Wednesday after the company failed to heed a judge's order to take down YouTube videos that the court ruled violate Brazilian electoral law.

The detention came as another court ordered YouTube to remove clips of an anti-Islam film that has been blamed for deadly protests by Muslims around the globe, both joining a spate of court-ordered content-removal cases against Google's video-sharing website in Brazil.

The arrest of Google executive Fabio Jose Silva Coelho was announced in Sao Paulo. A press release issued by the federal police said he was not expected to remain in jail and should be released later in the day after signing a document promising to appear in court.

Brazil's strict electoral laws limit what critics can say on television, radio and the Internet about candidates for office. Ahead of municipal elections next month, Google has received repeated requests to remove Web videos that allegedly violate those restrictions.

A judge in Mato Grosso do Sul state ordered Coelho's arrest Tuesday because the company had not removed YouTube videos that make incendiary comments about an alleged paternity suit aimed at Alcides Bernal, who is running for mayor of the city of Campo Grande. That ruling also included a statewide, 24-hour suspension of Google and YouTube. It was not immediately clear if and how that aspect of the ruling might be carried out.

Google said Tuesday that it was appealing the decision. “Being a platform, Google is not responsible for the content posted on its site,” the company said in an email.

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