'Trump must hang' Fresno State University lecturer on leave

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Image source, Fresno State University

A US college lecturer has been placed on paid leave after tweeting that President Donald Trump should be hanged.

Fresno State University in central California said in a statement that Lars Maischak had "agreed upon a voluntary leave of absence".

He tweeted on 18 February: "To save American democracy, Trump must hang. The sooner and the higher, the better."

The FBI and Secret Service have been investigating the posting.

Fresno State president Joseph Castro said in a statement on Tuesday evening: "During his leave of absence, Dr Maischak will no longer have a teaching role, but will be conducting research off campus."

Earlier this month, Mr Maischak wrote in a statement to a news station that he was "appalled that the president of the university is allowing himself to be instrumentalised for a right-wing smear campaign".

The lecturer - who has taught American history at Fresno State since 2006 - said any suggestion he had wished violence against Mr Trump was "far-fetched".

He also defended another tweet that said: "#TheResistance #ethniccleansing Justice = The execution of two Republicans for each deported immigrant."

Mr Maischak's tweet about President Trump - to 28 followers - attracted little notice until it was picked upby the right-wing Breitbart News website.

Breitbart said the lecturer's statements "explain why universities across the country are now viewed with disdain by average, salt-of-the-earth Americans".

Mr Maischak is not the first critic of the president to test the limits of free speech.

The rapper Snoop Dogg fired a toy gun at a Donald Trump character in a recent music video.

Mr Trump tweeted: "Can you imagine what the outcry would be if @SnoopDogg, failing career and all, had aimed and fired the gun at President Obama? Jail time!"

Newt Gingrich, a prominent Republican and supporter of Mr Trump, said the singer was part of "an emerging left-wing fascism".