Endless Escalation Between Egyptian Bloggers, Regime

Endless Escalation Between Egyptian Bloggers, Regime

It seems that Egyptian bloggers will remain a group on the blacklist of the Egyptian regime especially after the liveliness they”ve brought to society even though it was often limited to presenting their opinions within the framework of the freedom of thought and expression secured to them by the constitution. But even that hasn”t been withstood by the Egyptian regime whose escalation against bloggers reached the extent of transferring them to military trials.

The Egyptian regime reached its maximum level of escalation against bloggers when it decided to transfer blogger Ahmed Doma and Ahmed Kamal to the military court in Ismailiyyah.  They were arrested while in Rafah and added to military case number 34 of year 2009 in the North Sinai Military Misdemeanor Court which had issued a one-year prison sentence against them and release on bail of 2000 LE on February 10 for illegally sneaking into the country via the eastern borders in violation of the Republic Act No. 298 for year 1995 after going to Gaza to show solidarity with its people during the offensive.

The decision received sharp criticism from human rights organizations who considered transferring civilians to military courts a violation of basic human rights principles which call on providing fair trials.  Rights organizations also considered these military trials as settlements between the regime and some opposition figures.

Meanwhile, Egyptian State Security Investigations Bureau had practiced pressure on Azhar University for refusing to issue a certificate expelling the blogger Kareem Amer, student in the Faculty of Islamic Legislation and Law, which had been requested by the Court of Cassation to determine a session for looking into the contestation of the four-year prison sentence issued against Amer.  This led to the matter”s complication by Amer”s defense in the Alexandria court in order to halt the sentence execution until the decision of the Court of Cassation was issued especially since the crime attributed to Amer is, in the end, a crime of expression and since he”s already spent more than two years in prison.

Then there is the Egyptian-German blogger and member of the Popular Committee In Support of Palestinian People Phillip Rizk who spent around two years in Gaza working in relief projects with Canon Andrew White, the ArchBishop of Canterbury”s Envoy to the Middle East.  Rizk is also the editor of a popular blog called “Tabulet Gaza” and a student in the American University in Cairo doing his graduate studies in Middle East Studies.  Despite all this, he was arrested a few weeks ago while at the Palestinian-Egyptian borders in Rafah after participating in one of the Gaza solidarity rallies.  His arrest wasn”t announced until after the State Security raided and barbarously searched his house.

Blogger Phillip Rizk was released on February 11 after spending five days blind-folded in an unknown place where he was exposed to all forms of violations.  Phillip also mentioned that he was investigated with in all issues and in a terrorist atmosphere as they asked him about his support for Hamas, whether or not he worked for Israel, and whether he was doing missionary work considering that he is Christian.

In another context, “Mayyit” blog-owner Mohamed Adel threatened to strike in protest against his bad detainment conditions as he is suffering from isolated detainment in a cell that exceeds no more than 1.5 meter square, and limited visiting times that exceed no more than 30 minutes per week in a violation of the law which gives provisional detainees the right to a safe place that preserves human dignity and which prevents access of press which led to the deterioration of the detainee”s psychological state.

Adel was also exposed to verbal assaults by Head of the Anbar Farm Prison Investigations.  State security prosecution in the 5th settlement had decided on Sunday, February 8, 2009 to extend the detainment of the student blogger accused of illegally sneaking into the Palestinian grounds for another 15 days.  The same charges were pressed against Dr. Gamal Abdul-Salam, Head of the Relief and Emergency Committee in the Arab Doctors Union and blogger Abdul-Aziz Mujahid.  Adel was arrested and kidnapped from downtown Cairo on November 11, 2008 and detained for 17 days inside the state security investigations bureau where he was exposed to all kinds of torture at the hands of a State Security officer.

These examples of young bloggers illustrate the Egyptian regime”s approach with anyone who speaks out or calls for change and reform even if it were by their pen, all that they own and use to express their ideas, draw pictures of the painful reality and a promising future.