Man behind pro-Mubarak Facebook page arrested

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Egyptian authorities arrested the founder of a Facebook page with millions of followers praising ousted President Hosni Mubarak, a judicial source said.

Karim Hussein runs the page “I am sorry, Mr President” was detained for 15 days, the source said. He was being investigated over spreading false news and misusing social media, the source said, without giving further details.

A statement posted on the page on Wednesday said Hussein was taken in for questioning the previous night over “some matters linked to the page and what is published on it”.

The page has over 3.276 million followers and more than 2.8 million likes. It carries frequent posts praising Mubarak and suggests comparisons between his time in power and current events.

Mubarak became president in 1981 and remained in office until he was toppled in a popular uprising in 2011. Now 91, he was tried and initially convicted for complicity in killing protesters and acquitted in a retrial.

Recent posts on the Facebook page included a picture of Mubarak with the Africa Cup of Nations football trophy, which Egypt won five times when he was president.

Last week, as host team Egypt one of the favourites to win this year’s competition was knocked out in the second round.

Another post cited Mubarak saying he could not cut fuel subsidies, the same day as Egypt’s government raised fuel prices by 16-30% as part of an IMF-backed reform programme.

The page also carries sympathetic posts about Mubarak’s sons, Alaa and Gamal and their social activities.

Gamal held a top post in Egypt’s former ruling party and a widely-held belief he was being groomed for the presidency helped galvanise the popular opposition that toppled his father.

Under current president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, authorities carried out a far-reaching crackdown on dissent across the political spectrum. Social media is tightly monitored.

Sisi supporters say the measures are necessary to stabilise Egypt after the turmoil following the 2011 uprising.