Egyptian blogger arrested and jailed!
Abdel Karim Suleiman, a 22-year-old former law student was arrested in November and held in custody for “insulting” both Islam and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. He was sentenced today to four years in jail.
Abdel is the first blogger to stand trial in Egypt, but many international organizations (including Amnesty International) now fear that the trial may spark a series of additional convictions (limiting the individual’s right for freedom of speech.)
Abdel was convicted in connection with eight articles he wrote since 2004. He is by his own declaration both a Muslim and a liberal, and he did not deny writing the articles. However, he said that they were merely a representation of his own views and opinion. One of Suleiman’s articles accused al-Azhar in Cairo, (a prominent seat of Sunni Muslim learning) of promoting extreme ideas.
On a side note, Egypt is actually supposed to host an Internet Governance Forum in 2009. It will be interesting to see how that pans out, considering that Egypt has repeatedly violated the rights of bloggers. The Internet has, as a matter of fact, emerged as a forum for critics of the Egyptian government, which runs the state’s large newspapers and main television stations.