Abdel Kareem Nabil, a 22-year-old former student at Egypt's Al-Azhar University, an Islamic institution, had pleaded innocent to all charges, and human rights groups had called for his release.
Nabil, who used the blogger name Kareem Amer, had sharply criticized Al-Azhar on his Web log, calling it "the university of terrorism" and accusing it of suppressing free thought. He also often criticized Mubarak's regime on the blog.
In one post, he said Al-Azhar University "stuffs its students' brains and turns them into human beasts ... teaching them that there is not place for differences in this life."
He was a vocal critic of conservative Muslims and in other posts described Mubarak's regime as a "symbol of dictatorship."
The university threw him out last year and pressed prosecutors to put him on trial.
The judge issued the verdict in a brief, five-minute session in a court in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria. He sentenced Nabil to three years in prison for insulting Islam and inciting sedition and another year for insulting Mubarak. Nabil had faced a possible maximum sentence of up to nine years in prison.
Nabil, wearing a gray T-shirt and sitting in the defendants pen, gave no reaction and his face remained still as the verdict was read. He was immediately taken from the pen and put in a prison truck and did not comment to reporters.
Egypt arrested a number of bloggers last year, most of them for connections to Egypt's pro-democracy reform movement. Nabil was arrested in November, and while other bloggers were freed, Nabil was put on trial - a sign of the sensitivity of his writings on religion.
Hafiz Abou Saada, head of the Egyptian Human Rights Organization, described the verdict as "very tough".
Even his family has disowned him some days before the trial:
His father, a retired mathematics teacher, has demanded applying the Sharia [Islamic law] ruling on him by giving him three days to repent, followed by having him killed if he does not announce his repentance.
The verdict can be appealed at the Alexandria Appealing Tribunal, but his lawyers are not very hopeful. This sentence was the appeal.
There have been a lot of reactions to this men's sentence:
Big Pharaoh [by the way, he is leaving the blog and he says that he does not when he will be posting again. I am very sorry to hear that, it is a great loss for the blogosphere]:
What really upsets me is the fact that Abdel Kareem enjoys very little sympathy in the Egyptian street because of what he said about Islam and religion in general. Some are calling for his execution.
Abdel Kareem will enjoy sympathy in the Egyptian street once Islam gets reformed. Once cussing Mohamed, Allah, whatever does not send you to prison or the gallows. If Abdel Kareem was living 500 years ago in Europe and he would have wrote the same thing about Christianity, he would have been burned at stake. Luckily Christianity got reformed, Christians in Europe understood that God would not be a very happy person if they imprisoned or killed someone who wrote/said something they considered offensive to the Christian faith. This is the reason why Dan Brown and Tom Hanks are still alive today.
Sandmonkey has announced that he will be writing a report for Pajamas Media and that he will be speaking about this in BBC.
Patrick from Clarity and Resolve expresses his concerns about Kareem's survival in prison.
Eye-on-the-world writes that:
The London-based rights group Amnesty International said in a statement: "This is yet another slap in the face of freedom of expression in Egypt." The group considers Suleiman to be a prisoner of conscience, jailed solely for peacefully expressing his opinion, the statement added.
The Paris-based press freedom organisation Reporters Without Borders said the sentence was "a disgrace" and the United Nations should respond by disqualifying Egypt from hosting an Internet Governance Forum in 2009.
One of Suleiman's articles said that al-Azhar in Cairo, one of the most prominent seats of Sunni Muslim learning, was promoting extreme ideas. Another article, headlined "The Naked Truth of Islam as I Saw it", accused Muslims of savagery during clashes between Muslims and Christians in Alexandria in 2005.
He has also described some of the companions of the Muslim prophet Mohammad as "terrorists", and has likened Mubarak to dictatorial pharaohs who ruled ancient Egypt.
"I was hoping that he would get a harsher sentence because he presented to the world a bad image of Egypt. There are things that one should not talk about, like religion and politics. He should have got a 10-year sentence," said lawyer Nizar Habib, who attended the trial as a member of the public.
More reactions at Global Voices.org, that also informs that there will be rallies protesting this in several cities:
If you want to take part in the international campaing to support Kareem insert this logo on your blog:
and link it to the support site. Thanks.
Batebi had several seizures on Friday night and was in a coma for a few hours. Yesterday, Batebi had a second brain stroke and was taken to the Evin Prison's clinic, where doctors began monitoring his condition.
Batebi's colleagues in prison contacted outside sources to announce that Batebi had a brain stroke on Friday and had spent 3 hours in a coma.
Ahmad Batebi, who was first arrested in the aftermath of the 1999 student uprising, was taken back to jail this summer and lived under deplorable prison conditions. It was reported that prison officials had confiscated and taken away all of Batebi's personal belongings after his second stroke.
Lastly, Spanish digital newspaper Libertad Digital reports that SGAE (Sociedad General de Autores y Escritores, that is, General Society Authors and Writers) wants a "driving licence" to surf the web, as they want to end the anonimity on the Net. Pedro Farré, the SGAE's lawyer, has based this on the lack of responsibility the actions in the web have. [HT: Caballero ZP]
Later, there have been a lot of campaigns on the Internet against SGAE's taxes, imposed on MP3, computer memories, even printer memories, etc, supposedly because public was using this for copying music CDs and DVDs. A lot of blogs took part on those campaigns. So, are they willing to see who are their critics?
Related posts: Censorship "made in Spain" is coming?
Hace unas semanas ya escribí que a Abdelkarim le podían caer hasta 9 años, por
criticar insultar al Islam y al Presidente Mubarak y contar la verdad sobre el régimen egipcio e incitar a la sedición. Le han sentenciado a 4, por acusar a la universidad en la que estudiaba de ser un centro de terrorismo que suprimía la libertad de expresión y por tratar a sus alumnos como bestias sin permitirles considerar las diferencias en la vida. También calificó de dictador a Mubarak.
Sin embargo, con todo y con eso no es esta la peor sentencia. Su propio padre ha pedido que se le aplique la Sharia y que "se le debería matar si no se arrepiente". Cariño paternal que tienen algunos...
Algunas personas han expresado su preocupación por la vida y la integridad de este blogger en prisión.
Como veis hay una campaña internacional en su apoyo. Así que los que teneis blog, por favor, poned el logo de arriba enlazado con la dirección http://www.freekareem.org.
Los grupos de Derechos Humanos habían protestado pero, como se ve, no ha surtido efecto la amenaza.
Además, el activista iraní de los Derechos Humanos Ahmad Batebi, que lleva en prisión desde los disturbios de 1999, ha sufrido hoy su segundo infarto cerebral. Los médicos han dicho que sufre por múltiples problemas tanto físicos como psíquicos, y que debe ser tratado fuera de prisión. Sin embargo, está en la clínica de la prisión.
Y en España, la SGAE quiere que para circular por la Web, nos saquemos un carnét de conducir, porque, dicen, que "el anonimato es malo porque, claro, la gente no se hace responsable de lo que escribe...". La campaña por el canon no les ha gustado nada, pero nada, ¿eh?
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