6 November 2007 marked the one year anniversary of the arrest of Egyptian blogger Abdel Kareem Nabeel Suleiman, penname Kareem Amer, who is an Honarary Member of English PEN.
Amer received a four year sentence for insulting Islam and defaming the Egyptian president, Mubarak in February 2007. Throughout this ordeal, he has refused to retract his critical online writings about Islam and Egypt’s highest religious authorities. Amer was a law student at the Al-Azhyar University in Alexandria until his critical articles led to his expulsion.
Amer’s prison sentence was the first to be imposed on an internet blogger in Egypt and raises important concerns about the restrictions placed on freedom of expression in this country. PEN protests the sentencing of Kareem Amer which it believes is in violation of his right to free expression guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Egypt is a signatory.
On Friday 9 November, rallies are taking place across the world to call for Amer’s release. In London, a rally organized by a group of LSE students will take place from 3.30pm-5pm at the Egyptian Embassy (26 South Street, Mayfair W1K 1DW). The group will be meeting at the entrance to Green Park Tube station at 3pm.
Amer recently sent a letter from prison to the online organisation www.FreeKarem.org, in which he declared:
‘[M]y accusation is not shameful for me. I wear it like a crown on my head and like a necklace on my chest. I want everyone to know that I did not force myself to respect any tyrant law that hinders freedoms. I am against any act to limit the right of freedom of expression of any person.’
To read more about Amer’s case please click here
To protest his imprisonment, please send appeals to the Egyptian representative in London:
His Excellency Mr Gehad Refaat Madi
Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt
26 South Street
Originally posted with the url: www.englishpen.org/writersinprison/bulletins/egyptanniversaryofkareemamersarrest/