Authorities arrest man suspected of posting video of kidnapped Egypt soldiers

Ahram Online , Friday 31 May 2013

Al-Arish prosecutors order detention of man believed to have posted kidnapped soldiers video, order release of owner of cyber-cafe from which video is thought to have been uploaded online

Prosecutors in the North Sinai city of Al-Arish on Friday ordered the detention – pending investigation – of a man accused of posting a video online showing seven kidnapped Egyptian security personnel released by their captors earlier this month.

Prosecutors also ordered the release of the owner of a local cyber-cafe from which the video was thought to have been posted online.

The two men suspected of posting the video showing the seven captive security personnel – who were snatched by unknown kidnappers in mid-May – were arrested on Wednesday, Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website reported.

In the video, posted on 19 May – three days after the kidnapping – seven men can be seen bound and blindfolded. They identify themselves by name and military rank before issuing desperate pleas for their release.  

The footage, in which the kidnappers also list their demands, was removed by YouTube hours after being posted because it reportedly violated the video-sharing website's "policy on violence."

Those subsequently arrested include the owner of an Al-Arish internet café from which police believe the video was uploaded, and Walid Saleh, 23, suspected of posting the video.

Saleh, who denies the charges, is reportedly the neighbour of jihadist Ahmed Abu-Shita, whose release from prison – along with other jailed jihadists – had been a chief demand of the kidnappers.

Abu-Shita was sentenced to death in September of last year for his involvement in attacks on an Al-Arish police station and a bank in 2011, in which five security officers and one civilian were killed.

In televised comments on Wednesday, Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim announced the arrests, reiterating his determination to track down the kidnappers.

Egyptian authorities, Ibrahim stressed, were continuing their efforts to restore security to Egypt's restive Sinai Peninsula.

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