November 10th, 2010
04:20 PM ET

Police beat, detain Egyptian blogger, watchdogs say

Blogger Kareem Amer was scheduled to be released last week, human rights groups say.

Not only are Egypt authorities refusing to release the blogger known as Kareem Amer, but he has also been subjected to beatings, one as recently as Tuesday, according to watchdog groups.

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information reported Wednesday that Amer was moved from the prison in Burj Al Arab outside Alexandria on Saturday, but agents with State Security Intelligence took him to their headquarters “where he was beaten by a junior officer yesterday.”

“These sadist practices against unarmed prisoners create a climate of hatred against the police in general and SSI officers in particular,” Gamal Eid, the group’s director, said in a statement.

The Committee to Protect Journalists said it was not the first time Amer was beaten and that he “was subjected to repeated instances of harassment and abuse during his detention,” including a 2007 incident in which inmates severely beat him on orders from prison officials.

According to Human Rights First, Amer was a 22-year-old law student when he was sentenced to four years in prison for contempt of religion and defaming President Hosni Mubarak.

“Disturbed by what Kareem perceived to be religious extremism at his university, he expressed secular views promoting gender equality and questioning Islam on his blog and websites, Modern Discussion and Copts United,” Human Rights First wrote in a statement last week.

Amer, whose real name is Abdul Kareem Nabil Suleiman, was arrested in November 2006 after being expelled from Al-Ahzar, the Sunni university where he studied Sharia and law, and was held in solitary confinement until his trial in February 2007.

Despite winning awards for his courageous journalism, “Kareem's family has disowned him and his father has called for the application of Sharia law against him,” the group said.

Al Jazeera reported that he was scheduled to be released Friday but was not. A blog called Free Kareem is urging people to write to Egyptian embassies around the world to request Amer’s release.

The U.S. State Department expressed concern in 2007 about Amer’s detention, and Wael Abbas, another award-winning Egyptian blogger, told CNN last month he felt Amer’s arrest was designed to intimidate other journalists in the country.

“We knew they were targeting Kareem Amer to make an example of him to other bloggers, and we refused to let them destroy us,” Abbas said.

Basem Fathy, a blogger and Cairo-based projects director for the Egyptian Democracy Academy, met Amer in prison, Fathy told Al Jazeera. There, Amer earned his respect, even if the two didn’t concur on every issue, he said.

“Before going to the prison, I just was a little bit affected by his reputation for defaming Islam,” Fathy told the station. “After meeting him and reading more and thinking more, now and for the last two years, I am a very strong supporter for his freedom.

“I might disagree with his opinions, but I also disagree with the arrest for his opinions.”

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Filed under: Courts • Egypt • Human rights • Justice • Religion • Technology
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. mee

    Egypt is in africa...

    November 11, 2010 at 5:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Moniqu

      Eygpt is on the Continent of Africa, Africa is not a country, Eygpt is it's own country on the Continent of Afirca...

      November 11, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Monique

      Eygpt is it's own country on the Continent of Afirca...

      November 11, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  2. America's Allies

    Most of America's Allies have the worst human rights records. America, which claims to be a champion of democracy, is in fact the supporter of dictators every where in the world. Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, South Korea, .... Egypt, Jordan... the list is long. The more the USA supports a country, the more likely it is an ugly dictatorship.

    The American deserve the terrorism related expenses/delays they suffer every day when they fly 🙂 They asked for it by supporting these dictators.

    November 11, 2010 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      Very well stated,America's Allies. Quite true!

      November 11, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Pito

    When in Rome, do as the Romans do. I wish we could beat some people, in this Country, too. What? Are we all becoming loney women who fall in love with any sad story. America is crumbling. We womt beat them, we should think about joining them. If i was the Pres. of an Anarchist country, i'd beat you all, too. ( lol). Everyone cries for this guy but noone could help someone close to home like dear Zahra Baker. I'm just kidding. It's all too little too late. Not even, in 15 years we will all be living in huts, tormenting helpless people, getting whipped by dope dealing immigrants and oil owning arabs.

    November 11, 2010 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  4. Ricardo

    Don't forget to work the fingernails!!

    November 11, 2010 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  5. Shoemaker

    Hit him with a shoe!

    November 11, 2010 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  6. teremist

    I was invited to work in Egypt. I declined. I have no desire to be surrounded by barbarian islamics.

    November 11, 2010 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  7. F

    This stuff is ridiculuous it is called Freedom of Speech. These people lives like it was 5000 years ago. Tell them Mohammad was a nothing. He was a warrior not a religous figure. He should not be idolized...oooohhhhh Now are they going to come after me for disgracing his name. Bring it on you fanatics. Come to the US and get me .....As a matter of fact I spit on Mohammad.

    November 11, 2010 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. F

    These people are idiots. Its called Freedom of Speech. The prophet Mohammad was a nothing. I spit on him....ooooohhhh maybe they will try to punish me now. Bring it on fools.

    November 11, 2010 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Wild Hurricane

    Its a wild hurricane

    November 11, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jd

    Did you ever stop to think if it is true maybe the guy deserved the beatings?

    November 11, 2010 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  11. TheFuture

    The absolute insensitivity and discrimination of so-called educated, western world bigots!. This is about a young man, locked up for his beliefs, freedom of speech, supression of free thought and all you can ramble on about is religion..and Islam and show your absolute FEAR of the unknown, reflecting limited knowledge.

    How about starting a campaign to free the young man and avoid the hatred of others just like, living a life just like you, trying to survive every day, just like you, maybe praying to a different god – just like you (if you do).....?

    November 23, 2010 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
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