Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Alexandrian blogger arrested...

Check Karim's blog here. I personally don't agree with a lot of his opinions but his arrest is unconscionable and expressive of the regime's persistent violations of basic rights like freedom of expression. You can find links and more information on the Free Karim campagin website.

Extracted from 3arabawy:

CAIRO, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Egyptian security forces have arrested a student blogger whose writing was critical of Islam and the government, security sources and rights activists said on Tuesday. Arabic blogger Abdel Kareem Nabil Suleiman, a 22-year-old aspiring human rights lawyer, was arrested in the coastal city of Alexandria on Monday. His detention was the latest crackdown on political opposition by Egyptian authorities following arrests and beatings at street protests earlier this year, despite calls from Egypt’s U.S. ally for political reform. “The accusations directed against him are that he published opinions aimed at disturbing public order, insulted the head of state and defamed Islam,” said Sally Sami Program Officer at the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (HRInfo), which is representing him. “It is becoming more and more obvious that the government is not keen to reform or allow true democracy where differing opinions can be voiced.” Security sources did not detail exactly which comments prompted authorities to hold Suleiman, who his lawyers said was expelled this year from al-Azhar University, Egypt’s most prestigious seat of Islamic learning. Suleiman has criticised al-Azhar’s dominance in religious thought and said Muslim clerics were partly responsible for sectarian strife that followed a knife attack on Christian worshippers in Alexandria in April, according to Gamal Eid, Executive Director of HRInfo.

INTERNET FREEDOM Suleiman was the latest of several bloggers to be arrested in Egypt, where news of his detention came shortly after rights group Reporters Without Borders added Egypt to a list of worst suppressors of freedom of expression on the Internet. Egypt joins 12 other countries on the list including Cuba, Myanmar, Iran and Turkmenistan. RSF said it was also concerned at an Egyptian court ruling that an Internet site could be shut down if it posed a threat to national security. Suleiman was due to appear before prosecutors on Wednesday. His arrest was unusual in that he was arrested solely because of comments made on the Internet, activists said. Other bloggers were mostly picked up during anti-government protests earlier in the year. Several have spent weeks or months in jail.

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