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Free Abdel Karim Suleiman

press freedom egypt middle east abdel suleiman free journalists mediaThe Propagandist has written before about Abdel Karim Suleiman, the Egyptian blogger who was charged in 2007 for the 'crimes' of insulting Egyptian president Hasni Muberak and "inciting hatred of Islam" in posts that were written on his blog under the pseudonym of 'Kareem Amer'.

Suleiman's sentence expired earlier this month, and he was due to be released from jail on the 5th. However, the Egyptian authorities have continued to hold him in detainment. They have not provided any reason as to why he has not been released so far. Meanwhile, there are reports that Sulieman has faced beatings by a junior officer during the time he has been held past the date of his release.

The group of activists at the Free Kareem Coalition are urging people to "send 3 letters; one to the Egyptian government officials, the other to the Egyptian ambassador or consul in your country, and the third to the your local minister of foreign affairs."

Meanwhile, the Committee to Protect Journalists has issued the following press release:

 

New York, November 10, 2010--Egyptian authorities must immediately release blogger Abdel Karim Suleiman, known online as Karim Amer, who completed his four-year prison sentence on November 5, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. CPJ also calls on authorities to investigate and punish a security officer who reportedly assaulted Amer on Tuesday.

The government's continued imprisonment of Amer reflects its overall abusive treatment of the blogger, who was subjected to repeated instances of harassment and abuse during his detention. Authorities moved Amer last week from Borg al-Arab Prison outside Alexandria to a State Security Investigations facility in the city, where he was to undergo release procedures. The agency has continued to detain Amer without explanation, and he was beaten by a security officer, his lawyer, Rawda Ahmad, told CPJ.

 

"There is no legal basis for Amer's detention beyond his court-imposed sentence," said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. "It's alarming that a law enforcement officer would feel he could attack someone with impunity. The assault should be investigated, and charges should be brought against the officer."

 

Arrested on November 6, 2006, Amer was convicted by an Alexandria court on charges of insulting Islam and President Hosni Mubarak. A student at Cairo's Al-Azhar University, Amer was expelled in 2006 because he frequently criticized the state-run religious university, which he accused of promoting extremist ideas, and Mubarak, whom he referred to as a dictator.

 

Amer was the first blogger in Egypt to be convicted explicitly for his work, CPJ research shows. In 2007, inmates severely beat Amer on the orders of prison officials, CPJ research shows. In April, security officers confiscated Suleiman's notebooks and letters of support that he receives.

 

The Propagandist will continue to follow developments in this story as they come.

Walker Morrow is a Contributing Writer for The Propagandist.

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