British police arrested nine people Tuesday for naming a woman raped by footballer Ched Evans on social networking sites, bringing to 12 the number arrested over online circulation of the woman's name.
Evans, 23, who plays for Wales and Sheffield United in England's third tier, was jailed last month for raping a 19-year-old woman at a hotel in north Wales in May 2011.
After his sentencing, comments appeared on Twitter and other networks that allegedly revealed the victim's identity -- breaching the right of rape victims to lifelong anonymity -- as well as directing abuse at her.
Five men and four women from north Wales are being held for questioning, police said. They were arrested either on suspicion of malicious communication or under sexual offences legislation, or both.
Three men arrested over similar offences in South Yorkshire in northern England last week have been released on bail.
Evans, who was jailed for five years after being found guilty last month, admitted having sex with the woman but denied rape. His lawyers said he maintains his innocence and plans to appeal against the verdict.
Evans's co-accused, Port Vale defender Clayton McDonald, 23, also admitted having sex with the victim but was cleared.
Sheffield United is meanwhile carrying out an internal investigation into social media comments by reserve team player Connor Brown about the case. He has been suspended by the club.
Detective Sergeant Bob Halford, of North Wales Police, said: "We continue to be proactive in this investigation and anticipate that further arrests will be made in the near future."
It is the latest case in which users of Twitter and other social networks have challenged legal restrictions on the publication of information.
In 2011, Britain's privacy laws were thrown into chaos after the names of celebrities thought to have obtained so-called super-injunctions to hide scandals were circulated on Twitter.