Leftist activist arrested for 'insulting public figures'

Ahram Online , Thursday 4 Dec 2014

Mohamed Hamed is charged with posting insults to public figures to Facebook

Member of Egypt's Socialist Popular Alliance party (SPAP) Mohamed Hamed was arrested in Alexandria early on Thursday for insulting public figures using social media.

Al-Ahram's Arabic news website reported that the arrest came after prosecutors charged him with insulting public figures – a misdemeanor in Egyptian law – on Facebook pages he administers.

Egyptian security forces have cracked down on anti-government pages – primarily those run by Islamists – after the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi in 2013. Tens were rounded up on various charges such as inciting violence through Facebook pages since then.

The SPAP's official Facebook page said Hamed was arrested from his house at 5am on Thursday and described the arrest as part of a campaign to harass activists who took part in the 2011 revolution against Mubarak.

In November, trade unionist and former member of the liberal Constitution party, Mahmoud Rehan was also apprehended for charges of insulting the president on his Facebook page; Rehan was acquitted by a court on Thursday.

The 25 January revolution was portrayed by pro-Mubarak media as a conspiracy; Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi announced plans this week to criminalise insulting it.

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