Egypt: Blogger prison sentence a slap in the face for freedom of expression
Amnesty International today (22 February) condemned the four-year sentence handed down by an Egyptian court against blogger Karim Amer, and called for his immediate and unconditional release.
Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:
"This sentence is yet another slap in the face of freedom for expression in Egypt.
"Karim Amer is a prisoner of conscience who is being prosecuted on account of the peaceful expression of his views.
"The Egyptian authorities must repeal laws which allow people to be thrown in prison just for exercising their right to free speech, be it online or offline.
“We are deeply worried that the Egyptian authorities are now targeting bloggers in their attempts to stifle free speech.
“Sadly this is not confined to Egypt. In countries around the world, governments are targeting bloggers, closing websites and censoring internet searches. The internet is the new front in the battle between those who want to speak out and those who would stop them.”
Karim Amer is the first Egyptian blogger to be tried for writing blogs criticizing Egypt's al-Azhar religious authorities, President Husni Mubarak and Islam. Charges against him included "spreading information disruptive of public order and damaging to the country’s reputation", "incitement to hate Islam" and "defaming the President of the Republic".
Over 60,000 people have joined Amnesty’s irrepressible.info campaign, highlighting the repression of internet users around the world. Irrepressible.info campaigns against internet repression in all its forms: the blocking of websites, deletion of blogs, restriction of search engines and imprisonment of people simply for posting and sharing information. For more information see http://irrepressible.info
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