Blogger Illegally Detained and Beaten in Egypt | Page 71 | Freedom House

Blogger Illegally Detained and Beaten in Egypt

Washington

Freedom House is deeply concerned for the safety of Egyptian blogger and human rights advocate Kareem Amer, who was detained without explanation by Egyptian authorities on completion of his prison sentence.
 
Amer was released from Borj Al Arab prison on November 6 but was immediately taken back into custody. He had been behind bars since 2007 after receiving a four-year prison sentence: three years on charges of “contempt of religion” and inciting hatred of Islam, and an additional year for “defaming the President of Egypt.” The charges stemmed from critical statements he made on his personal blog regarding sectarianism, Al-Azhar University, and religious extremism. He continues to be held by State Security in Alexandria and has reportedly been beaten.
 
“That fact that comments questioning religious orthodoxy and interpretation could land a person in jail is an example of why criminal defamation and blasphemy laws are so contemptible,” said Paula Schriefer, advocacy director of Freedom House. “Regardless, now that he has completed his sentence, it is entirely unacceptable that Egyptian authorities continue to hold him without cause. Freedom House demands that Kareem Amer be released immediately without further harm.”
 
Criminal defamation and blasphemy laws such as those in Egypt are a clear violation of freedom of expression and are frequently associated with broader human rights violations, including arbitrary arrest or imprisonment as well as torture. According to a recent studyby Freedom House, blasphemy laws in Egypt have been used to suppress political opposition and human rights advocacy, and to settle personal disputes. In addition, the laws are used to repress religious minorities, including members of “non orthodox” Muslim groups, who are frequently put on trial for “denying Islamic facts” and “insulting Islam.”
 
Egypt is ranked Not Free in Freedom in the World 2010, Freedom House's survey of political rights and civil liberties, and Partly Free in Freedom of the Press 2010.
 
For more information on Egypt, visit:
 
 
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Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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