10 MB members arrested for suspicious Facebook pages

Ten Muslim Brotherhood members were arrested on Thursday on charges of moderating Facebook pages that incited violence against the police, reported the privately owned newspaper Al-Shorouk.

The Ministry of Interior claims the defendants used social networking websites to publish private information pertaining to members of the police force, urge others to commit acts of violence against the police as well as civilians, and assemble explosive devices, according to a statement posted on the ministry’s official Facebook page.

The Interior Ministry has begun monitoring social networking websites to find pages that publish identifying information about police officers that could help individuals perpetuate “acts of terror” against them, security sources told the privately owned Youm7 online newspaper on Wednesday.

Security forces are “tracking down anyone who attacks the army and the police, encourages violence or sides with the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood,” the sources said, adding that “administrators of these pages will be located, arrested and interrogated until they confess the source they get their information from,” Youm7 reported.

The ministry’s statement listed the names of 10 alleged suspects, whose ages range from 17 to 63 years old. They are accused of promoting “methods to set police cars and buildings on fire.”

One of the defendants is also accused of “handling a Facebook page calling for the establishment of a free Islamic army in Syria, Iraq and Egypt.”

A draft of an anti-terrorism bill sent from the Interior Ministry to the Justice Ministry on Thursday includes new articles that allow the state to monitor Facebook and internet pages to “prevent using them for acts of terror.”

Article 21 of the bill states, “Anyone who directly or indirectly promotes acts of terror, either verbally or in writing, or through any other means of broadcasting or publishing, or through letters or online websites that others can access, shall be punished by imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years.”

The article also considers promoting thoughts and beliefs that call for violence to be a promotion of terror. Possessing, mediating or holding with the intention of distribution any printed material, paper or electronic matter that contain material promoting the aforementioned acts, would also be punishable under the proposed law. 

In case of promoting acts of terror was against “houses of God, army or police forces, or sites that belong to these forces,” the prison term would be higher, but not exceed 10 years.

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