REGIONS:

New proof of innocence of blogger imprisoned for insulting president

(HRinfo/IFEX) - On 3 March 2008, one year after blogger Kareem Amer was sent to prison, HRinfo stated that the campaign launched by some independent newspapers has proven that Kareem Amer is innocent of the charge for which he was convicted: insulting the president. Amer was sentenced to one year's imprisonment over an article that reported on an Islamic charity assembly in Damanhour city of Delta, stating that this assembly had described the president of the Republic as the "prince of believers" (like a Khalifa in old Islamic history).

The General Prosecution accused Amer of insulting the president, considered a crime under article 179 of the penal code, in an article written in 2005 entitled: "Vote for Mubarak. . . the prince of believers!".

During the presidential elections, the Sheikh of Al-Azhar had called for support for President Mubarak, but the other Sheikhs refused. A group called "Prophet Mohammed Sunni Group of Supporters" then hung a large placard in Damanhour city that called on people to vote for Mubarak referring to him as "the prince of believers". Amer contended that he had merely reported the facts when referencing this phrase.

In late February 2008, independent newspapers started to report on a charity assembly whose chairman insisted on referring to the president as the "prince of disbelievers." This substantiates what was reported in Amer's article, and his claim that it was not he who applied that phrase to the president.

Gamal Eid, executive director of Hrinfo said: "Kareem Amer was punished for criticizing an act that took place three years ago. Just today, he was proved to be right by 'Al-Karama' and 'Al-Masry Al-Youm' newspapers. This matter reveals how such articles of the penal code are flexible and vague and can be interpreted in the interest of, or against, anybody. Kareem Amer deserves to be acquitted of that accusation and we shall reject all other accusations against him when the case comes to the cassation court."

For more details about Kareem Amer's case, visit:
http://www.hrinfo.net/en/focus/2007/pr0117.shtml

Hrinfo's legal appeal containing details of the incident is available at:
http://www.openarab.net/campaigns/2007/camp5.shtml

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