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They Beat Bloggers There

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… and jail them too. Egyptian blogger Karim Amer got four years for criticizing Islam and President Mubarak on his blog. He’s now been in jail for a year.

Karim Amer, who is serving his prison sentence in Borg Al-Arab Prison, Alexandria, wrote in his letters to one of his legal counsels that he was beaten on 24 October 2007.

Karim Amer said he was punched and kicked by a prisoner and a prison guard under the supervision of a prison investigations officer. One of his teeth was broken and he was badly bruised. He was then taken to a disciplinary cell, hand-cuffed and his legs tied up and beaten again by the same two individuals on the orders of the prison investigations officer.

After he was beaten, he was put in solitary confinement in a disciplinary cell until 2 November 2007. During this period, he was given only one meal and one bottle of water a day and not allowed to send letters. He was finally moved back to the prison section where he was initially detained on 7 November 2007 and held in an individual cell.

Karim Amer was first detained by the Egyptian authorities for twelve days in October 2005 because of his writings on his blog (karam903.blogspot.com) about Islam and the sectarian riots that took place in the same month in Alexandria’s Moharram Bek district. These riots followed reports that the video of a play believed to be anti-Islamic was being screened in a Coptic church in the district.

In March 2006, disciplinary measures were taken against him by al-Azhar University and he was dismissed. The university’s disciplinary board found him guilty of blaspheming Islam.

He was rearrested in Alexandria on 7 November 2006 following a complaint made against him by al-Azhar University. He remained in detention since then until his sentencing, following a series of extensions.

The things we take for granted …

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