Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Kareem Amer on trial


Egyptian Blogger Abdul Kareem Nabeil Suleiman, known in the Internet as Kareem Amer, went on trial Jan. 18 in Moharam Bek Misdemeanor Court in Alexandria. The charges were charges of insulting Islam and causing sectarian strife with his Internet writings; the hearing was brief and adjourned at the defense's request to Jan. 25.

Kareem's blog in Arabic can be found here.
Here's Amnesty's past statement on the case. I've written previously about the case several times.

Two things about the case. This isn't the first time Kareem has been in trouble with authorities, but in the past the U.S. has raised concerns about the case. Not this time, despite Secretary's Rice's visit to Egypt this week.

Second, while there is silence from U.S. authorities, within Egypt, activists are rallying to the cause. The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information issued a statement calling upon freedom of expression advocators in Egypt and all over the globe to support Kareem Amer in his prospected trial based on biased investigations by the Public Prosecutor.
For more information about this group's work: http://www.hrinfo.net/en/focus/2007/pr0117.shtml

If you want to take action on this case, in the U.S. you should write letters of support for Kareem to the Egyptian ambassador:


Ambassador Nabil Fahmy
Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt
3521 International Court N.W.
, Washington, D.C., 20008

202-895-5400


One of the ironies of this case, of any case supporting freedom of speech on the Internet in Egypt, is that while President Mubarak has an e-mail account for public comment, it always seems to fail when large number of actions try to use the account. So it's better to write or call the ambassador directly.

Here's what other media and bloggers are saying about the case.

The Washington Post notes that this is just one of a string of harassments of government critics speaking out online.

Here's FreedomforEgyptians blog writing on the case.

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