Writing about the ’heroics’ of the Cybercrime and Intellectual Property Rights Bureau has become tedious. Its latest exploit was the detention of a young man, Karim Hawwa, 21, for four days after he shared an article on Facebook accusing Interior Minister Nouhad al-Machnouk of outsourcing to a company with ties to Israel.
Even more remarkable than the “crime of sharing” was the manner in which the young man was lured into detention. A close friend of Hawwa, Claude Jabr, told Al-Akhbar on November 15 that “the Bureau called him and told him his phone was stolen property and that he had to go there [to the Bureau headquarters].” The Bureau deceived the young man and did not summon him in a legal manner.
This “sharing crime,” however, is not unique. The Bureau, which operates under the umbrella of the judicial police, has designated itself as a censor of the work of journalists and electronic activists, whether it is articles, posts, tweets or “shares.” One by one, people were called in for questioning based on charges by politicians and fortune tellers alike.