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. LisForLoser

    Maybe I should have my ex's arrested in Egypt. They could use a good smacking around.

    November 10, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lol

      Ex's? lol... maybe you could use a smacking around

      November 10, 2010 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jim Brieske

    Egyptian President Mubarek is a two faced conman who is bound for Hell. His Army is filled with cowards also. The sooner he is dead the better the world will be.
    He will be allowed to see his Heaven placed 12 year old grandson (Mubarek's well deserved curse caused his death) briefly and then he will be cast into Hell.
    At least this is the ideal situation. I'm sure there will be some snags like people fighting to keep him alive but it won't change his fate. Nothing will.
    He is evil.

    November 10, 2010 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      Jim,how right you are!!!

      November 10, 2010 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. K jacktown michigan

    another crap hole, run by evil men who have no problem ruling with an iron fist, just be thankful that we still can speak our minds, without the beatdowns, if you can pass moderation. Sooner or later we will have to deal with the islam religion, cant wait !

    November 10, 2010 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. MeFirst

    Hey Mo! You can start with me buddy. I'm ready to meet Allah. Think you're man enough to send me there?

    November 10, 2010 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. huh?

    @mohammed,what lizard crawled up yo ass and died?why are u so mad?oh the oil hoo hoo,u get paid for what we take,dont get mad cuz ur leaders pocket all the money and leave u guys with humus.

    November 10, 2010 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. what

    Maybe a terrorist,i read the last egypt was bomb by terrorist,the terrorist and his terrorist friends trials and since no more bombing there.terrorists are brother usa soldier trained eygptian soldiers

    November 10, 2010 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. what

    Maybe a terrorist,egypt the only safe place middle east,they only income is tourist dollars,their soldiers are trained by usa soldiers.they protect usa people and kill brother served a year there,treated like gold by the gov.

    November 10, 2010 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Daniel

    Why am I not surprised? All Arab police states beat their political prisoners and Egypt is no exception. Everybody whined about Saddam Hussein and his abuses and when Egypt does the same thing,everybody's silent!!!

    November 10, 2010 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mohammed

    Thank God for America, the only true democratic nation, I'm from the Middle East, now I'm proud to be muslim American, we freed Iraq & I hope we will continue to free the rest of middle east.

    November 10, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • cy

      @ Mohamed, We freed Iraq? are you sure that's what the people of Iraq wanted? If so then why they want us out of there? After 100K dead, and country going back 50 years, you call that freeing them? How do you like if some one kills your family to free you from house hold chores? Getting reed from house hold chores is good but not at cost of your family. Do you really fall for we went there to free the people? then you must have also fell for WMD argument. WE ARE THERE FOR THE OIL BUDDY. That's why we are also in Saudi Arabia, Kwait, Bahrain, Quatar... We also went to Iraq to do Israel's dirty job (Sadam was Israel's #1 enemy, and now they are trying to con us do go to Iran) we are broke as a result while Israel enjoy record setting economic growth. OPen your eyes and see the real truth Brother.

      November 11, 2010 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  10. DanteX

    Oh My!

    An "alleged" terrorist -which means the individual ACTUALLY IS IN FACT A TERRORIST- being "abused" while they are "detained" by the authorities?

    WHO KNEW?!!!!

    November 10, 2010 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Northern

    See.... Cops are the same all around the World.

    November 10, 2010 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • ErmChairQB

      Congratulations, you win the CNN Ignorant Comment of the Day award.

      November 11, 2010 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
  12. Dyron

    What's with all the racist comments?No wonder they don't like Americans.Was in Egypt last year the country was a big disappointment.Our ghetto's are a better place to live.The Egyptian government is no better than ours.Mubarak is as bad as Bush an these lame Tea Baggers.

    November 10, 2010 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. manny warren

    Don't forget egypt is the second biggest recipient of US aid dollars after Israel, they do just as the US says.

    November 10, 2010 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. cjygudwin

    Egypt has become so religious in the past 30 years it is just awful. I used to have to go there for work. The government needs to be opressive because most of the population is poor, fanatically religious, and full of anti-Western hatred.
    It is always a ticking time bomb. The press and television there make things worse by running anti-Jewish and anti-Christian stories and programs. Egypt used to be a multi-cultural society but all the Jewish people had to leave and many of the Coptic Christians have left because of harassment and discrimination. Educated secular Egyptians have to be very careful about what they say in public because everything Western is viewed as an anti-Muslim conspiracy of some kind. It is a very sad situation and I can only imagine it getting worse over time.

    November 10, 2010 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ashraf

    you cannot argue with Islam or Muslims, their religion is so intolerant that it makes them blind to the most basic human common sense so that they are unable to question the wrong ideas promoted by Islam such as killing and terrorizing non-muslims, they will always be the least advanced people of the world.

    November 11, 2010 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Mohammed

      Ur mixing up between religion of Islam and the extremists who r using the religion as a tool to benefit their own agenda or goals, but I could be wrong!

      November 11, 2010 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
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