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PA forces briefly detain Palestinian over Facebook posts

Sept. 14, 2015 2:37 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 14, 2015 7:25 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority Preventive Security Forces on Sunday briefly detained a Palestinian citizen from Tulkarem in the northern West Bank over comments allegedly criticizing Palestinian officials on social media.

Initial reports said that Abdullah Nashat al-Sayyid was detained by the PA intelligence branch after he criticized PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on Facebook.

However, a spokesperson for the PA Preventive Security Force, Ikrima Thabit, denied that criticism of Hamdallah had been the reason, although he confirmed that al-Sayyid was detained for activity on Facebook.

"He wasn't arrested for freely expressing his opinion," Thabit claimed.

He said that al-Sayyid was arrested on charges of "slander, defamation, and an attempt to harm Palestinian relations with some brother Arab nations, namely Saudi Arabia, through Facebook posts."

Thabit warned news outlets against quoting social networks, claiming that "some try to use these networks as platforms for defamation and attacks against officials and dignitaries."

Over the last year, a number of Palestinians have been detained by both Israeli and Palestinian forces for their use of social media.

In December last year, Israel convicted eight Palestinians of "incitement via Facebook," claiming that their online comments had raised tensions across Jerusalem and encouraged acts of "terrorism."
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