Thursday, February 22, 2007


Abdek Kareem Nabil has been sentenced to four years in prison.
Judge Ayman al-Akazi sentenced Nabil to three years in prison for insulting Islam and the Prophet Muhammad and inciting sectarian strife and another year for insulting President Hosni Mubarak.

Nabil, sitting in the defendant's pen, did not react as the verdict was read and made no comments as he was led to a prison truck outside. Seconds after the door was closed, an Associated Press reporter heard a slap from inside the truck and a scream.
As I recall, Hosni Mubarak was one of the political leaders who had made tut-tutting and shocked comments about Saddam Hussein's execution.
Nabil's lawyer, Ahmed Seif el-Islam, said he would appeal the verdict, adding it will "terrify other bloggers and have a negative impact on freedom of expression in Egypt." Nabil had faced a possible maximum sentence of nine years in prison.

His conviction brought a flood of condemnations from international and Egyptian human rights groups, as well as fellow government critics on the Internet.

"I am shocked," said Wael Abbas, a blogger who writes frequently about police abuses and other human rights violations in Egypt. "This is a terrible message to anyone who intends to express his opinion and to bloggers in particular."

The State Department has made it clear it has no specific comments to make on the case though "the U.S. is always concerned when freedom of expression is infringed". Gee, thanks.

Then again, our own Foreign Office probably has not even noticed that this trial was going on or that bloggers are being arrested in various parts of the world, particularly in Egypt. It has been pointed out that other bloggers were freed after what must have been a distinctly unpleasant stay in prison but Kareem is being punished because he has attacked Islam.

Perhaps, international outcry will help him and others who must be very frightened. Here is the site through which everyone can help.


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