29 December, 2006

Jailed for blogging :: IHT

CAIRO: In a cramped jail cell in Alexandria, Egypt, sits a soft-spoken 22- year-old student. Kareem Amer was sent to prison for over a month for allegedly "defaming the president of Egypt" and "highlighting inappropriate aspects that harm the reputation of Egypt." Where did Amer commit these supposed felonies? On his weblog.
. . .
After 18 years inside the Al-Azhar system, Amer rebelled. Rather than embrace the religious establishment, he became a critic of discrimination against women and non-Muslims.

Blogging became Amer's outlet — and his downfall. When Al-Azhar officials discovered a blogpost criticizing extremist professors, Amer was expelled and his case referred to the public prosecutor.

Although a human-rights lawyer accompanied Amer to his interrogation, prosecutors made clear they were indicting Amer for his beliefs. "Do you fast on Ramadan?" they demanded. "Do you pray?" They even insisted he reveal his opinions on the Darfur crisis. Amer would not retract his blogposts, so prosecutors threw him in jail — and laughed at the human-rights attorney present, openly mocking the concept of standing up for individual rights.

Indeed, only a few years ago, the arrest of a student at Al-Azhar would have been met with silence and indifference from the outside world. But today, hundreds of fellow bloggers and readers from around the world have sounded the alarm.


Lirun said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lirun said...


jailed for sharing thoughts.. i would love to read the judgment - if any one finds it please let me know..

reminds me of the book "the last days of socrates" - which was compulsory reading for every student when i was at bond university - and to think that i took it for granted..

reminds me also of albert camus´ "stranger" which we had to read in high school in israel..

i guess the philosophical question i am left with is whether thought crime is really a fault or an ommission - ie are we judged for what we think/want/desire or are we being condemned for what we dont think/reject/disapprove of..

wishing you all a happy new year from very un-icey iceland..

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