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Palestinian charged with insulting leader online

Sat, 01/22/2011 - 3:20am
The Associated Press

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) -- A Palestinian reporter tagged in a Facebook image that mocked the president says he's been accused of insulting a public figure.

Mamdouh Hamamreh of al-Quds TV said Saturday that his prosecutors have set his first court date for next month.

He was detained for a few weeks by security just hours after the image allegedly ridiculing President Mahmoud Abbas appeared on his Facebook page in September.

His TV station is sympathetic to the militant Islamic group Hamas, the chief rival to Abbas' Palestinian Authority.

The incident highlights how Abbas' forces are using social networks to crack down on dissent.

A Palestinian government spokesman maintains residents have "lots" of free speech.

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