Friday, February 23, 2007

Free Kareem

The BBC reports:

An Egyptian court has sentenced an internet blogger to four years' prison for insulting Islam and the president.
Abdel Kareem Nabil's trial was the first time that a blogger had been prosecuted in Egypt.

He had used his weblog to criticise the country's top Islamic institution, the al-Azhar university and President Hosni Mubarak, whom he called a dictator.

A human rights group called the verdict "very tough" and a "strong message" to Egypt's thousands of bloggers.

Nabil, 22, was tried in his native city of Alexandria.

A former student at al-Azhar, he called the institution "the university of terrorism" and accused it of suppressing free thought.

The university expelled him in 2006 and pressed prosecutors to put him on trial.

During the five-minute court session the judge said Nabil was guilty and would serve three years for insulting Islam and inciting sedition, and one year for insulting Mr Mubarak.

Specifically, he was charged with apostasy.

Kareem’s imprisonment comes despite massive massive international support for his cause, and almost universal condemnation of the Egyptian authorities for taking this case to trial. I say almost universal, as, within Egypt, Islamists have called for the execution of the unfortunate blogger. Even Kareem’s parents are reported to have disowned their son, calling him a “monkey” who imitates western secularists. Kareem’s father wants his son killed if he doesn’t repent.

Kareem has garnered a tremendous amount of support from across the Arab world. His supporters launched a website in his name,, almost immediately after he was first arrested. Several Arab human rights organizations pooled their resources to build him a legal defense team, which was headed by a conservative Muslim woman. More detailed information is available on the site.

Time for all people who believe in freedom of speech and human rights to get behind this wrongly-persecuted man. More on how you can help right here.

1 comment:

Ahmad said...

Hello, could you help me promote this freedom video as much as you can, if you agree to its contents, of course. It’s about Egypt’s real nature and the accelerating imprisonment of freedom fighters in general, and bloggers like Kareem and many others under severe threats from the Egyptian Government.

Many thanks, Ahmad

Here is the link to the video: