The Way Government Treats Them

The Way Government Treats Them

The frantic activities of cyberactivists on the World Wide Web led the government to use several methods to face their thoughts and political advocacy tools as strikes and protests.

It treats them as enemies, crushes and forces them to close their blogs and forums, in addition to chasing and prosecutions, detentions and arrests, mostly without passing by the prosecutor or even accusing them of a charge, as stated by civil society organizations.

Observers describe the security agencies’ justifications as “ready made”, as undermining Egypt’s reputation, incitement to overthrow the regime, insulting the president, brazening on some Arabic regimes and countries, disturbing national security and affiliation to a banned group.

Some of them were arrested for their opposition in the roads or on the internet, others were attacked and their blogs and forums were closed, as stated by the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information.

Bloggers said that the Ministry of Interior has got a new office just to counter their activities, which has not been confirmed and in the year 2005 some of them said that the services provided by internet companies aiming to withhold pornographic sites from kids are superficial services and its real goal is to obscure blogs and forums which tackle political and social issues in Egypt.

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information uncovered that one of the major national press institutions installed a filter to obscure opposing sites and blogs from the journalists, but retreated subsequently.

In 2007 they started a campaign to withhold and close many sites, blogs and forums, arrests and detentions for many activists described by Human Rights Organizations as “illegal”. In addition to attacking electronic activists, prosecuting some of them and issuing judicial rulings against the others, one of these rulings was to block 51 sites and blogs.

The judge described them as terrorist electronic sites, which tarnish the reputation of Egypt, insult the president and brazen on some Arabic countries, its political regimes and on him personally, he also demanded the withholding and closure of what may be established later on.

Detention phenomena of the activists was growing in 2007 by security forces wearing civilian clothes while following-up or participating in some events, political demonstrations or during the coverage of trials as the military trail of Muslim Brotherhood.

Among the detainees this year was the cyberactivist Muhammad Yaqut after his announcement to support the candidates of the Muslim Brotherhood in the half-term elections of the senate. Another one was Omar Asharqawi after his attempt to take photos to reveal rigging elections in his constituency of Talkha center at Daqahlia governorate.

As for the activist Ahmad Saad Doma, he was arrested after the (Million Face) campaign against the president; he was ill treated and the investigations were launched about his writings on the internet and his opinion about the regime and President Mubarak.

“Spy as they spy” campaign where the activist Abdur-Rahman Faris published the data of the state security officers at Alfayum (where he lives), was the reason for his arrest, he was accused of distributing publications that call for rioting and overthrowing the regime, although this data was merely about the officers’ names, their car models and their inhabited areas.

The electronic activist and lawyer Ahmad Aljizawi played a role in documenting many torture cases at police stations; this was a main reason for his arrest in 2007 during his participation in a demonstration for “Egyptians against Torture” movement in front of Al-Omraneia police station.

And for the first time, a number of activists were abducted in a well-closed carry-over vehicle using it as a prison to hide the illegal arbitrary detention crime -with its continuous movement- for about five hours and it was described as “serious” in a statement of Civil Society Organizations.

On March 25, 2007, the referendum night, security has returned back. Electronic and political activists were beaten, tens were abducted and they were prevented from strike at Attahrir square, as stated by the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information. They were released after more than 21 hours also in a carry-over vehicle without ventilation, food or drink, not even toilet, as stated in the report.

Wael Abbas, one of the most famous electronic activists in Egypt and the Arabic world, presented via his blog “Egyptian Awareness” many torture cases in the Egyptian police stations , one of them was the torture and rape case of Emad Alkabeer.

He was exposed to defamation campaigns, as the ex-assistant Minister of Interior Major General Ahmad Diaa Addin-the current governor of Almenia- said more than once on TV programs that Wael has a register full of issues and he is about to be prosecuted. Abbas put a copy of a governmental document on his blog that proves his criminal safety position to be a proof that these accusations and allegations are trumped-up.

While boarding the plane and before its flight to Sudan, blogger Abdul-Monem Mahmoud –known as the MB Reuters-  was arrested on April 15, 2007 and released after 45 days for the absence of any charge, but was then prevented from traveling outside Egypt.

*The article first appeared in Arabic in Al Masry Al Youm daily newspaper last week, and was translated into English by Ikhwanweb.