Blogger jailing branded 'a disgrace' by RSF

An Egyptian blogger has been sentenced to four years in prison for insulting Islam, the Prophet Mohammed and Egypt's president.

Abdel Kareem Nabil, a 22-year-old former student at Cairo's Al-Azhar
University, was a sharp critic of conservative
Muslims in his blog.

He also lashed out often at Al-Azhar — the most prominent religious
centre in Sunni Islam — calling it "the university of terrorism" and
accusing it of encouraging extremism.

His conviction brought a flood of condemnations from Amnesty
International and other international and Egyptian rights group and
stunned fellow bloggers.

"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."

Nabil's lawyer, Ahmed Seif el-Islam, said he would appeal against the verdict, saying the ruling will "terrify other bloggers and will have a negative impact on the freedom of expression in Egypt."

Egypt arrested a number of bloggers last year, most of them for connections to Egypt's pro-democracy reform movement.

Nabil was arrested in November, and while other bloggers were freed, Nabil was put on trial — a sign of the sensitivity of his writings on religion.

Reporters Without Borders warned that the ruling would hurt
freedom of expression in Egypt.

“This sentence is a disgrace,” the press freedom
organisation said. “Almost three years ago to the day, President
Mubarak promised to abolish prison sentences for press offences.

Alaa Abdel-Fattah, a pro-reform blogger
who was detained for six weeks last year, said the conviction for
insulting Mubarak will "have a chilling effect on the rest of the bloggers."

"We (the Egyptian people) are enduring oppression, poverty and
torture, so the least we can do is insult the president," he said.

No comments to display

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *