Thursday, February 22, 2007

Blogger Jailed

Egyptian blogger, Abdel Kareem Soliman, has been sentenced to four years in prison for

'insulting Islam and the President.'

According to the BBC, he had criticised the al-Azhar university and called President Mubarak a 'dictator'. He also described al-Azahr as 'the university of terrorism'. This just another example of the increasing attempts to curb the freedoms many of us take for granted on the internet. If you want to protect the freedoms we all enjoy, visit irrepressible.org and add your signature. Why not add an irrepressible.org widget to your website as well (see sidebar). The following is a press release by Amnesty International in response to this sentence.

News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International

22 February 2007

Egypt: Karim Amer sentence makes bloggers new target of the authorities

Amnesty International condemns the four-year sentence handed down by an Egyptian court today against blogger Karim Amer, and calls for his immediate and unconditional release.

"This sentence is yet another slap in the face of freedom of expression in Egypt," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Programme Director. "The Egyptian authorities must protect the peaceful exercise of freedom of expression, even if the views expressed might be perceived by some as offensive. Amnesty International considers Karim Amer to be a prisoner of conscience who is being prosecuted on account of the peaceful expression of his views."

"The Egyptian authorities must repeal legislation that, in violation of international standards, stipulates prison sentences for acts which constitute nothing more than the peaceful exercise of the rights of freedom of expression, thought, conscience and religion."

Karim Amer is the first Egyptian blogger to be tried for writing blogs criticizing Egypt's al-Azhar religious authorities, President Husni Mubarak and Islam. Charges against him included "spreading information disruptive of public order and damaging to the country’s reputation", "incitement to hate Islam" and "defaming the President of the Republic".

AI Index: MDE 12/006/2007

Further information :
Egyptian blogger faces 10-year prison sentence
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