Friday, February 23, 2007

Free Kareem Amer

An Egyptian blogger was sentenced to four years in jail yesterday for articles published on his website.

Abdel Kareem Soliman, 22, a former law student from Alexandria who used the internet alias Kareem Amer , was convicted of inciting hatred of Islam and insulting the President, Hosni Mubarak.

Soliman was arrested last November, following a complaint by al-Azhar University, his former place of study and Sunni Islam's most important institution. He had referred in his blog to companions of the Prophet Mohamed as "terrorists", to al-Azhar as "the university of terrorism" and to President Mubarak as the "symbol of dictatorship".

Bloggers around the world must unite and lobby to free Kareem from jail. I am the 3,700th person to have signed the petition to free Kareem Amer that will be presented to The Egyptian Ambassador to the United States Mohamed Nabil Ismail Fahmy, The Egyptian Interior Minister Habib Ibrahim El Adly, The Governor of Alexandria General Adel Ali Labib, The United States Ambassador to Egypt Francis J. Ricciardone Jr. I am also the 2,365th person to have signed the Hands across the Mideast Support Alliance petition to Nabil Fahmy, Egypt's Ambassador to the US - Habib el Adly, Egypt's Interior Minister - General Adel Ali Labib, Governor of Alexandria - Francis Ricciardone, US Ambassador to Egypt - David Welch, US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs - Ahmed Nazif, Egyptian Prime Minister.

Four years in prison is a disgrace, for nothing more than an alleged thought crime. Everyone in the world should have the right to free expression. Everyone should be allowed to stand up and be counted. Everyone has a right to their own opinion and should be allowed to blog about it. There is enough room in this world for the free discussion of ideas and people should be able to disagree with others in a civil manner. What has happened to Kareem can happen to others and if governments are allowed to squash free thought and expression then the world will become a Police state. All around the world politicians are reducing the freedoms of the citizens and this bad scene in Egypt could, if not corrected, spread around the world as most governments are sensitive to criticism.
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