Reporters Without Borders

Jailed blogger again forbidden visit by lawyer

Jailed blogger again forbidden visit by lawyer

Published on Wednesday 13 January 2010.
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Reporters Without Borders deplores the way the authorities continue to persecute Abdel Kareem Nabil Suleiman, a jailed blogger better known by the pen-name of Kareem Amer. For the third time in a row, one of his lawyers has been denied the right to visit him in Borg Al Arab prison although he had the required permits from the Alexandria attorney-general’s office.

The lawyer, Ahmed Omar, one of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information’s lawyer (ANHRI), was told on arrival at the prison on 10 January that the security services had imposed a permanent ban on visits for the blogger. The ANHRI filed a complaint with the Cairo prosecutor’s office in May 2009 after the first refusal, but no investigation was carried out.

Reporters Without Borders is very worried about the conditions in which Kareem Amer is being held and his physical and psychological health. Imprisoned since November 2006, he has had no contact with the outside world for the past eight months. Reporters Without Borders intends to request permission to visit him as soon as possible.

On 22 December, a court rejected a request for a retrial for Kareem Amer. Although all further possibilities of appeal have been exhausted, a petition for his release has been filed with an administrative court.

See the most recent press release:

22.12.2009 - Court rejects retrial for jailed blogger Kareem Amer

Reporters Without Borders condemns a decision by the Cairo court of cassation today to reject a request by the lawyers of jailed blogger Abdel Kareem Nabil Suleiman, better known by the pen-name of Kareem Amer, for his case to be retried. The judges said they would give the reasons for their ruling on 26 December.

“This decision shows the Egyptian judicial system’s lack of independence,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The authorities decided to make an example of Kareem Amer in order to intimidate Egyptians who use the Internet to express their views freely and criticise the government. We hope the court will at least give a detailed explanation to justify this arbitrary decision.”

Although all of Kareem Amer’s possibilities of appeal have been exhausted, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) has petitioned a Cairo administrative court for his release under an Egyptian law that allows the authorities to free prisoners for a “good conduct” when they have completed three quarters of their sentence, as Kareem Amer has. But it seems that interior minister Habib Ibrahim Habib Al-Adli is opposed to this possibility.

Arrested in November 2006 and mistreated in prison, Kareem Amer was given a four-year jail sentence on 22 February 2007 on charges of “insulting” the president and Islam. The sentence was confirmed on appeal on 12 March 2007.

He was arrested over the comments he had posted online criticising discrimination against women in Egypt and authoritarian excess of the government and the highest religious authorities including the Sunni University of Al-Azhar.

Read the previous release on this case.

Read and sign thepetition for Kareem Amer’s release




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