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Israeli court accuses slain Palestinian's twin brother of social media 'incitement'

Oct. 28, 2016 4:14 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 30, 2016 5:54 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- The public prosecution of Israel’s Jerusalem magistrate court presented on Thursday a list of indictments against the brother of a slain Palestinian youth, accusing him of incitement on social media.

The prosecution accused 20-year-old Muhammad Shuyukhi of inciting “terrorism” on social media following the killing of his twin brother Ali by Israeli forces during clashes in the occupied East Jerusalem town of Silwan on Oct. 11.

Israeli forces had detained Muhammad Shuyukhi during an overnight detention raid two days after his brother was killed, amid widespread detention raids across the entire Jerusalem district following a deadly shooting in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem on Oct. 9 that left two Israelis dead.

Ali and Muhammad Shuyukhi

The indictment list presented on Thursday said that Muhammad Shuyukhi had published several posts on his Facebook page that included sayings which “incited terrorism,” while other posts of his included support for the Hamas movement and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of the Fatah movement.

The indictment against Shuyukhi coincided with a recent crackdown by the Israeli government on social media “incitement.”

Israel has stepped up its campaign against Palestinian journalists, media organizations, and ordinary citizens since a wave of unrest across Israel and the occupied West Bank began last October.

While the Israeli authorities have said those targeted were responsible for incitement against Israel, rights groups argue the crackdown is a blatant violation of speech freedoms.

Last month, two right-wing Israeli ministers met with top Facebook executives in an effort to “minimize online anti-Semitic incitement” -- the state of Israel’s latest effort to pressure the social media site to coordinate to remove content considered to promote “terrorism.”

Israel had previously blamed Facebook outright for the perceived proliferation of incitement, with Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan reportedly saying that Facebook chairman and cofounder Mark Zuckerberg had “blood on his hands” for not adequately cooperating with Israel to remove content.

Israeli authorities have come under repeated criticism for its response to “terrorist attacks,” which routinely include carrying out large-scale detention raids, limiting the freedom of mobility of Palestinians, home demolitions, and other punitive measures against the relatives of people accused of committing attacks against Israel.

Their actions have been condemned by rights groups, who have said the measures amount to “collective punishment” and “court-sanctioned revenge,” and represent a clear violation of international law.
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