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The Syrian Council of Ministers passed a new anti-cybercrime bill on 5 March, creating specialised courts of first instance for cybercrime-related cases, APC member Social Media Exchange (SMEX) shared on their website. Shortly after the bill’s enactment, the Syrian Ministry of Justice appointed 58 judges to handle these cases.

Since 2015, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait and Palestine, among other Arab League countries, have also introduced anti-cybercrime legislation under the pretence of combating cybercrime, but all of them have been criticised by human rights groups for using the law to restrict online freedom of expression.

Read more here and follow @SMEX on Twitter for updates on internet rights in the Middle East and North Africa.

Image credit: The headquarters of Syrian Criminal Security, the apparatus that runs the Cybercrimes branch, 7 August 2017. (Breaking News Syria, via SMEX)

Social Media Exchange (SMEX) is a registered Lebanese NGO that works to advance self-regulating information societies in the Middle East and North Africa. Their work encompasses media development programmes as well as internet policy research and digital rights advocacy in support of more accessible, participatory and just enabling environments for civil society across the MENA region.