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August 16, 2011

2 British Men Given Jail Time for Inciting Riots on Facebook

A British court has sentenced two men to four years in prison for their failed attempts to use the social networking site Facebook to incite rioting during last week's unrest in the country.

Jordan Blackshaw, 20, and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan, 22, were convicted of creating Facebook pages aimed at encouraging violent disorder in their hometowns in northwest England.

Both men pleaded guilty to creating the pages, which were entitled "Smash Down Northwich Town" and "Let's Have a Riot in Latchford."

Police say they infiltrated the Facebook page of Blackshaw last week and promptly arrested him after no one else joined him for the riot. Sutcliffe-Keenan's page was only up for a few hours before he took it down.

Separately, a British teenager appeared in a London youth court Tuesday to face charges that he murdered a 68-year-old retiree during last week's rioting. Richard Bowes died Thursday of head injuries after being attacked by rioters in west London.  The teenager, whose name has not been released because of his age, was also charged with violent disorder and burglary.

Nearly 3,000 people across the country have been arrested for participating in the riots, which left five people dead.  Almost half of those detained have been charged with riot-related offenses.

On Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced the formation of an independent panel to investigate the causes of the riots and hear from victims and affected communities. However, he stopped short of announcing a full public inquiry, which many in the opposition Labor party had wanted.

Clegg said convicted rioters, wearing orange clothing, would soon be put to work cleaning up the devastated communities, as part of a "community payback" plan.

The violence started after the fatal police shooting of a man in London's economically depressed Tottenham neighborhood and quickly spread to other cities across Britain, terrorizing the country for four straight nights.