A man who criticized the Palestinian Authority leadership has been sentenced to one year in prison, Palestinian sources said Wednesday.

According to the sources, Anas Awwad, 26, a Palestinian from the village of Awarta, south of Nablus, was found guilty of “extending his tongue” against the PA leadership and “fomenting sedition and sectarian strife.”

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Awwad’s father, Saed, said the verdict was handed down by a PA Magistrate’s Court in Nablus.

The PA sometimes uses a 50- year-old Jordanian law that bans “extending one’s tongue” against the monarch to suppress critics.

The Palestinian news agency Safa said that Awwad, a graduate of An-Najah University in Nablus, had been arrested four times in the past by PA security forces in the West Bank.

Lama Khater, a Palestinian journalist and writer, criticized the sentencing of the young man. “I suggest that the Palestinian security forces also bring Yasser Arafat to trial, since he too had criticized [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas,” she said.

Last year, the PA security forces arrested Palestinian blogger Jamal Abu Rihan and also charged him with “extending his tongue” against the PA leadership.

Abu Rihan was arrested after he launched a Facebook campaign titled, “The people want an end to corruption.”

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