Egypt: Internet writer Abdel Kareem Nabil Suleiman detained and charged

English PEN is seriously concerned about the detention of internet writer Abdel Kareem Nabil Suleiman, better known as ‘Kareem Amer’. Kareem Amer is reportedly being held in solitary confinement and under harsh conditions, causing concern for his physical and psychological welfare.

According to PEN’s information, Kareem Amer was summoned to appear before the office of the Public Prosecutor in Alexandria on 7 November 2006, after posting articles critical of Islam on his web log. He was charged with ‘incitement to hate Muslims’, ‘defaming the President of the Republic’ and ‘insulting Islam’ on 18 January 2007. He was held on renewable two-week detention orders, and his trial began on 25 January 2007. Amer faces up to nine years in prison if convicted.

Kareem Amer is a former al-Azhyar University student and is known for his secular views and his critical writings about Islam and Egypt’s highest religious authorities published online. This is not the first time that Kareem Amer has been detained for his critical writings. He was held for 12 days in October 2005 for his articles on Islam and his coverage of sectarian riots in Alexandria. These articles also led to his dismissal from al-Azhar University in March 2006 after its disciplinary board found him guilty of blasphemy against Islam. 

English PEN believes that Kareem Amer may be detained in violation of Article 19 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, to which Egypt is a signatory, and if so calls for his immediate and unconditional release.  PEN further calls on the Egyptian authorities to revise its Press and Publication laws and articles of the Penal Code on insult and defamation, believing that such laws, carrying disproportionate, criminal penalties such as the lengthy prison term faced by Kareem Amer, are being used throughout the world to silence legitimate dissent.

Please send appeals:

• Expressing concern about the detention and trial of Kareem Amer, who appears to be held solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression;
• Expressing concern at the conditions of Kareem Amer’s detention, and seeking assurances that he is being treated humanely and given full access to medical care, family visits and legal representation;
• Urging the Egyptian government to clearly implement the international standards set out by the ICCPR to which the state of Egypt is a signatory.

Appeals may be sent to:

His Excellency Mohammad Hosni Mubarak
President of the Republic of Egypt
Fax: 202 390 1998

Cc. His Excellency Cr Mamdouh Muheiddin Marei
Minister of Justice
Magles El Shaab St
Justice Bldg
Fax: 202 7958103

Cc. His Excellency Dr Ahmed Mahmoud Mohammed Nazif
2 Maglas El Shaab St
Fax: 202 795 8048

It may be most effective to send the above appeals via the Egyptian representative in London:

HE Mr Gehad Refaat Madi
Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt
26 South Street
London W1K 1DW
Fax: (020)7491 1542

 For more information on our Defamation and Insult Campaign, please click here.

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