Blogger Alaa Saif: Egyptian Blogosphere Under Siege
Alaa Saif, the administrator of http://manalaa.net, is one of the most famous Egyptian bloggers; he has actually managed to develop the weblog from personal expressions and ideas into means for confronting the Egyptian tyrannical regime, making the blogosphere a new battlefield for the confrontation between the Egyptian regime and opposition .
On Wednesday, bloggers Alaa and Manal, and human rights lawyer, Gamal Eid, the manager of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, appeared before Imababa prosecution to be interrogated over a lawsuit filed by judge Abdul Fattah Morad in which he accuses them of insult and defamation inside the courtroom .
Alaa says the incident started when the counselor Abdul Fattah Morad published a book about weblogs and warned against violating copyrights although he copied to it more than 50 pages from the report of the Arab Network for Human Rights without referring to the source.
We discovered this academic plagiarism, we started publishing it through weblogs, triggering a stage of clash between us and counselor Abd Al-Fattah; several attempts were exerted by judge Abd Al-Fattah to solve the problem but in vain .
Alaa added the real confrontation started two weeks ago in the State Council, on Tuesday March, 27, 2007, in the lawsuit filed by counselor Abdul Fattah Morad against the president and the Prime Minister in which he demands them to block 21 weblogs; I was there there, along with Gamal Eid, my father Ahmed Saif Al-Islam Hamad, the manager of Hesham Mubarak center for human rights and some bloggers; we also saw lawyer Mohamed Dawoud, who raised a hisba (A sort of a civil case in an Islamic form) against the currently imprisoned blogger Kareem Amer as one of the witnesses brought in by the judge. A sharp attack was launched by Mohamed Dawoud against the bloggers and the case was transferred to another district court.
When counselor Abdul Fattah Morad got out of the State Council, some cameramen, journalists and bloggers tied to take photos of him and a quarrel erupted between him and journalists outside the courtroom; some bloggers insulted him and that”s all, added Alaa.
Alaa was surprised on April 4 with phone call from Imababa prosecution demanding him to appear before the prosecution in a lawsuit of insulting counselor Abdul Fattah Morad, and I went there with my wife and Gamal Eid; we were interrogated on charge of insulting counselor Abd Al-Fattah although my wife Manal” wasn”t in the State Council; all of us were released 12 hours after the prosecution decision of releasing us but the case is still underway.
Alaa pointed out that he saw names of bloggers Malek Mostafa and Rami Siyam and the name of my father Ahmed Saif Al-Islam Hamad; this indicates that the case targets fighting the bloggers who revealed the violations of counselor Abd Al-Fattah and also to exercise pressure on my father Saif Al-Islam.
Alaa pointed out to that the Egyptian government may use these cases to fight bloggers as a part of its continuous war against the opposition, including the Muslim Brotherhood and other political powers.
Alaa confirmed that the freedom of the blogosphere is generally witnessing its worst times under the current Egyptian regime.
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