Saturday, August 9, 2008

New Facebook Arrests

Cairo, Egypt (PANA) - The arrest of dozens of young Egyptians over their use of the social networking website Facebook dominated local newspapers during this past week.

Government and opposition-controlled publications differed on the issue, with the government-run newspapers arguing that the arrest was an important step in helping to rectify the national image abroad.

"Thirty members of the so-called 6 April Youth Movement -- formed on the popular social networking website Facebook and named after the 6 April strike -- met in the headquarters of the Ghad Party in Alexandria to show solidarity with its jailed leader, Ayman Nour," Egypt's Al Ahram reported.

It added that those arrested could be charged with "attempting to topple the regime."

But the Daily News Egypt – the country's leading English daily – reported that those arrested remain in custody without officially being charged.

"The group of 14, all in their early 20s, were singing patriotic songs and flying the Egyptian flag on the occasion of the anniversary of the July 23 revolution when they were arrested on Sidi Beshr beach in Alexandria," the Daily News reported.

"We spoke to the assistant prosecutor general Adel El-Said and requested that they follow-up with the prison and Interior Ministry authorities in order to ensure that the remaining members of the group are actually released," said Deya El-Sawy, a member of the April 6 Youth Movement, in comments carried by the Daily News.

The government's next action on the issue is not yet clear, but the arrests will remain contentious among Egyptians in the weeks ahead.

From PanaPress August 3rd, 2008

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