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Swiss high court upholds convictions of webmasters for publishing al Qaeda material

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Switzerland [official website] Wednesday upheld the 2007 convictions of a married couple for supporting criminal activities by operating websites that published statements and video footage from al Qaeda, including the 2004 beheading of American engineer Paul M. Johnson, Jr [Washington Post report]. Moez Garsallaoui was sentenced to six months in prison, while his wife Malika El Aroud was sentenced to a six-month prison term suspended for three years. At the 2007 trial, Garsallaoui denied knowledge of the beheading video, although he admitted to hosting other videos depicting violence, which he argued were protected by freedom of the press. He was also found to have operated discussion boards to which members of terror groups posted. Swiss authorities shut down the websites in 2005. AP has more.

The ease of transmitting videos over the Internet has given rise to new concerns about terror recruiting. On Monday, US Senator Joseph Lieberman sent a letter [text and press release] to Google [corporate website], asking the Internet giant to remove videos made by terrorist groups from its YouTube video service. On Tuesday, Google said that it had removed videos that incited hatred or violence [UPI report], but contended that others were protected speech.

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