Wednesday, January 17, 2007
A statement by the group said “Because of the urgency of his plight, DC-area residents of diverse backgrounds are staging a peaceful rally in front of the Egyptian Embassy's cultural affairs branch in DuPont Circle to defend Amer's right to blog freely and to call for his immediate release from jail.”
Although the protestors presented a petition to an embassy official who came out to meet them, when The Daily Star Egypt contacted the Foreign Ministry there appeared to be no plans to take any further steps concerning the matter...
The Daily Star Egypt had previously attempted to contact the Ministry of Interior concerning the status of Amer. Several faxes of queries have not been answered and a ministry official who answered a request for a phone interview declined to comment.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Tuesday, January 9, 2007
DC bloggers, DC blog readers, and all people of conscience are invited to attend a solidarity rally on Kareem's behalf outside a branch of the Egyptian Embassy in Washington, DC. Here are the details:
WHAT: Rally to Free Abdelkareem Soliman Amer
WHEN: Thursday (Jan. 11) - 12 noon
WHERE: Egyptian Cultural and Educational Bureau
1303 New Hampshire Avenue, NW (GoogleMap)
just to the Southeast of DuPont Circle
WHO: you and your friends & colleagues
So come on out during your lunch break and take a few minutes to exercise your freedom. The rally will be peaceful and respectful. We simply want to convey to Egyptian officials that this 22-year-old student must be released from detention.
Questions? Email: email@example.com.
It's a bit of a mystery why the Egyptian authorities find the blog of a 22-year-old student so threatening, though the arrest clearly sends a chilling message to other Egyptian bloggers. Amer is soft-spoken and his blog had a small readership. Still he has been charged with the following alleged crimes, based entirely on his blog posts:
- Spreading data and malicious rumors that disrupt public security
- Defaming the President of Egypt
- Incitement to overthrow the regime upon hatred and contempt
- Incitement to hate "Islam" and breach of the public peace standards
- Highlighting inappropriate aspects that harm the reputation of Egypt and spreading them to the public
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, which has provided legal defense for Amer, has issued several press releases with details on his case, including his initial arrest, his ongoing detention, the 4th renewal of his detention, and an urgent report that Amer's life may be in danger.
Amer remains detained incommunicado at Al-Hadra prison in Alexandria, and his own family is prevented from visting him. There is growing concern that physical harm may come to Amer in prison.
The best way to follow developments in Amer's case is via the Free Kareem blog run by fellow bloggers in the Middle East.
Monday, January 8, 2007
The students in Bahrain live under a dictatorship, yet they chose to exercise their right to free speech on behalf of a fellow student sitting in jail hundreds of miles away.
Their small act of solidarity has inspired activists in Washington, DC of diverse backgrounds to do the same. We exercise our freedom to demand the release of a young man arrested solely for being critical on his blog - something bloggers in DC do every day.
And here in DC, we are lucky to have representatives of the Egyptian government, who staff various embassy and consulate buildings around the city. If we rally here, we can send a message directly to the Egyptian government. Abdelkareem has now been held for nearly two months in jail without trial. We can demand his release - now.
Who is Kareem?
Abdelkareem Soliman Amer is a 22-year-old native of
What did Kareem post on his blog?
Though soft-spoken in person, Kareem lets his passions flow on his blog. He has written about political repression, religious extremism, and discrimination against women. Kareem often expressed “secular” views and called for equality for women in all aspects of Egyptian society. He also denounced violent attacks on Christians in
Why was he expelled from University?
The administration of
What did the Egyptian government accuse him of?
According to the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, Kareem stands charged with the following alleged crimes: (1) Spreading data and malicious rumors that disrupt public security; (2) Defaming the President of Egypt; (3) Incitement to overthrow the regime upon hatred and contempt; (4) Incitement to hate "Islam" and breach of the public peace standards; (5) Highlighting inappropriate aspects that harm the reputation of Egypt and spreading them to the public.
On what grounds is he being held?
Kareem was called into the prosecutor’s office in early November. Despite the presence of a human rights attorney representing him, he was interrogated about his personal religious practice and his opinion on current political issues. When he refused to recant his blog writings, he was detained for a few days. That detention has since been extended on several occasions, and over two months later Kareem is still in jail without trial.
Why is Kareem in danger?
According to the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, Kareem is now being denied access to his attorney. His family is not allowed to visit him in prison. They have stated that Kareem’s “life is in danger.” The fear is that an “accident” in the crowded
What comment has the Egyptian government made?
We are not aware of any official comment by the government in response to concern expressed by various human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, and coverage in major Egyptian and international media outlets. It appears the government believes there is no significant pressure or demand for explanation for why a young blogger would be detained for expressing his opinions online.
We are not aware of any official comment by the
What can I do?
Without outside attention and pressure, the Egyptian government can effectively detain Kareem indefinitely. Only international pressure will force the government to account for their detaining a young blogger without trial for over two months. Only international pressure will help secure Kareem’s release. At the very least, news of international support provides moral encouragement to Kareem and his attorneys. One simple thing you can do right now is to send an email to the Egyptian government and US State Department. You can do that right here: http://www.hamsaweb.com/c2/home.php?id=Kareem.