Palestinian arrested for insulting president on Facebook

A 37-year-old woman accused of defaming President Mahmoud Abbas on her Facebook profile has been arrested. She is being detained by the Palestinian Authority for two weeks.

37-year-old Ismat Abdul-Khaleq, a Palestinian woman accused of defaming President Mahmoud Abbas on her Facebook profile, was arrested this past Wednesday. The university lecturer, a single mother of two children, is being detained for two weeks while an investigation is carried out.

Abdul-Khaleq reportedly accused Abbas of being a traitor and demanding he resign. Some say she also claimed he partied with prostitutes on the graves of slain Palestinians, but she denies writing such things.

Activists say Abdul-Khaleq's arrest is part of a growing crackdown on writers who condemn the West Bank government. The Palestinian authorities are becoming increasingly intolerant to criticism and are more frequently searching Facebook for individuals and groups to prosecute.

A newspaper reporter is being held on suspicion of defamation since last week, according to CBS News. Two other reporters were briefly interrogated last week over their writings, one for his Facebook posts and the other over a story he was researching.

The Palestinian Authority, the administrative organization established to govern parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, considers it a crime to defame the president and other officials. Freedom of expression is allowed, but not if you're criticizing or insulting someone in power.

The news today comes after schools in the Philippines last week took a particularly critical approach to students expressing themselves on Facebook. A Catholic school in the Philippines banned girls from their graduation over Facebook photos of them wearing bikinis. Thankfully, a court ordered the school to allow the five female students to attend graduation ceremonies. Not long after, a school denied six boys their diplomas after they posted photos on Facebook that made them look like they were kissing.

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