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Cairo Airport unionist investigated for Facebook posts

Mahmoud Rehan is charged with belonging to a terrorist group and insulting the president, says his lawyer

Ahram Online , Tuesday 11 Nov 2014
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Egyptian prosecutors ordered the detention of a Cairo Airport employee on Tuesday pending investigation into charges of insulting the president and joining a terrorist organisation, his lawyer told Ahram Online.
 
Mahmoud Rehan, an administrative employee at the airport and vice president of the Independent Trade Union for Airport Workers, was investigated by police and National Security officers after they read Facebook posts from Rehan that were critical of the authorities, Rehan's lawyer Sameh Samir said.
 
Samir said the charge of joining a terrorist group refers to membership in the now outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, the group which Rehan vehemently opposed during its time ruling Egypt from 2012 to 2013, according to Samir.
 
"Rehan was suspended from his job due to leading protests during the time of the Brotherhood's rule and was allowed back when they were ousted. It's ridiculous that he's facing such charges," he added.
 
Rehan was transferred to a distant airport after leading a strike in 2013.
 
He will spend four days in custody, pending investigations into the new charges.
 
Egypt's police have sustained a crackdown against Brotherhood members since shortly after the July 2013 ouster of president Mohamed Morsi, who hailed from the group. The number of the group's detained members or supporters is estimated to be in the thousands.
 
Samir told Ahram Online that Rehan is a former member of the liberal Constitution Party – a staunch opponent of the Brotherhood.
 
A member of the Constitution Party, Tarek Tito, also faced charges of joining the Brotherhood while a previous investigation in 2013 looked into his protesting against Morsi.
 
Tens of Egyptians have been arrested on accusations of setting up Facebook pages that incite violence against authorities in recent months.
 
The interior ministry announced that it is monitoring the social network for "terrorist" activity.
 
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