Elaph news service hacked over Hariri article

Othman Al-Omeir, founder of Elaph.com, said the news source had its Facebook and Twitter accounts hacked.
Updated 07 February 2018
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Elaph news service hacked over Hariri article

LONDON: The Arabic news service Elaph.com had its social media accounts compromised early on Wednesday, with hackers spreading a “fake” apology for a controversial story about Lebanese premier Saad Hariri.
The London-based portal had its Facebook and Twitter accounts hacked but fought off a sustained attempt to compromise the website itself, said Othman Al-Omeir, founder of Elaph.com.
“We have no idea who attacked us. We are in contact with our providers and other specialists to find out,” Al-Omeir told Arab News.
The hack followed a story posted at Elaph.com about relations between Lebanon and Turkey. The analysis story claimed that Hariri was leaning toward Turkey while also distancing himself from Saudi Arabia.
Hackers apparently broke into the Elaph Facebook and Twitter accounts to post a fake apology to Hariri for the story.
Al-Omeir said Elaph is now back in control of its social media accounts and plans to take “action” when the perpetrators are known.
He added that such hacking attempts are common for a news agency. “This is part of the job,” he said.


Algerian blogger accused of espionage sentenced to 10 years in prison

Updated 25 May 2018
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Algerian blogger accused of espionage sentenced to 10 years in prison

  • An Algerian blogger arrested last year over social media posts has been sentenced to 10 years in prison on espionage and other charges
  • Charges against the blogger, Merzoug Touati, included “incitement for taking up arms against the state”

ALGIERS: An Algerian blogger arrested last year over social media posts has been sentenced to 10 years in prison on espionage and other charges, a human rights activist said on Friday.
Charges against the blogger, Merzoug Touati, included “incitement for taking up arms against the state” and “encouraging crowd gathering,” said Said Salhi, a member of the Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights.
They also included espionage “with foreign agents, in particular from Israel, with the goal of tarnishing Algeria’s diplomatic position,” Salhi said.
Touati was arrested in January 2017 after he published a Facebook message and a video on YouTube on accounts that were later deleted.
One post called for protests against a 2017 finance law, while the video included an interview with an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman who denied accusations by the Algerian authorities that Israel was behind anti-government protests in Algeria at the time.
Amnesty International said it had reviewed court documents that list the posts as evidence against Touati and that it had found “no incitement to violence or advocacy of hatred.”
“Rather, his posts were covered by freedom of expression in relation to his work as a citizen-journalist,” the rights group said in a statement.
Touati was sentenced on Thursday by a court in Bejaia, east of the capital Algiers.
He has 10 days to appeal the verdict, according to Algerian law.