Egypt: Internet writer Kareem Amer ill treated

English PEN is seriously concerned for the well-being of our Egyptian Honorary Member and Internet writer Abdel Kareem Nabeel Suleiman (Kareem Amer) following reports that he has been ill-treated in detention at Borg Alarab prison, where he is serving his four-year sentence.


According to a lawyer from the Arabic Network for Human Rights, who visited Kareem Amer on 30 August 2008, Amer is in a poor state of health and continues to be ill-treated in jail. He must follow the strict rules that apply to political prisoners during visits, although he remains in the criminal prisoners division, where he is treated without any consideration of his rights as a political prisoner. Reports suggest that the prison administration does not allow him to go to the prison yard as others do, and that fellow inmates harass him under orders of the prison administration.


Kareem Amer has previously reported being threatened and ill-treated in prison by officials and by other prisoners, and that he spent time in a disciplinary cell, where he received further beatings and was denied sufficient food and water. The incident followed an allegation of corruption made by Kareem against the prison authorities in late 2007. His lawyers filed a complaint to the Prosecution Office ten months ago. However, no investigation has yet started.


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’, and was held on renewable two-week detention orders until his trial began on 18 January 2007. He was sentenced to four years in prison on 22 February 2007.


Kareem Amer is a former al-Azhyar University student and is known for his secular views and his critical writings on 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. 


Please send appeals
• Expressing serious concern at reports that Kareem Amer is being ill-treated while in detention in Borg Alarab prison, urging that they are fully investigated and the reports made public;

• Reminding the Egyptian authorities of their obligations to the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the Articles 126, 127 and 139 of the Egyptian Criminal Code;

• Seeking assurances of Kareem Amer’s well-being, and calling for his immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Egypt is a signatory;


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


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


It may, however, be more effective to send your appeal via the Egyptian diplomatic representative in United Kingdom:


His Excellency Mr Gehad Refaat Madi
Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt
26 South Street


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