REGIONS:

Blogger's health deteriorates in prison; another blogger marks second anniversary in prison

(ANHRI/IFEX) - On 8 November 2008, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) released a statement expressing its deep concern about the harassment suffered by Kareem Amir in the Borg Al Arab prison in the Alexandria desert, and also about the sharp deterioration in the health of prisoner-of-conscience Mosaad Abu Fajr, who was unable to stand during a visit by ANHRI lawyers to the prison on 6 November.

Rawda Ahmed, the lawyer for ANHRI's Legal Aid Unit for Freedom of Expression, and Gamal Eid, who is ANHRI's executive director and also a lawyer, visited Amir on the occasion of the second anniversary of his imprisonment. They also intended to check on the health of blogger Abu Fajr at Borg Al Arab. The lawyers were surprised by the harassment to which they were subjected by the state security officer who runs the prison, which started with the confiscation of government and independent newspapers that Ahmed and Eid brought in for Amir and Abu Fajr and which delayed the visit by four hours. The lawyers and prisoners were forced to sit on the ground surrounded by four policemen, and each visit was only allowed to last for ten minutes.

The officer insisted that the visits to Amir and Abu Fajr be made separately, and made every effort to demonstrate the power he had over the lawyers, the prisoners and even the other prison officials, who expressed dissatisfaction with his conduct.

Despite the harassment, which was intended to prevent completion of the visit, Ahmed and Eid managed to meet with Amir and Abu Fajr. The lawyers were shocked to find that Abu Fajr could neither stand nor walk without the aid of fellow detainee and prisoner-of-conscience Yehia Abu Nasira, due to his twenty-day hunger strike to demand an improvement in conditions and his own release.

Eid said, "There is no law governing this prison. Any new state security officer can run it by his own laws. This is a matter of shame for the Ministry of the Interior, which leaves prisoners as the victims of officers who have no respect for the law."

AHNRI reiterated the demands of lawyers in Egypt that the administration of prisons should be moved from the Ministry of the Interior to the Ministry of Justice in order that the rule of law be maintained and to ensure the protection of prisoners who may otherwise be in danger as a result of the complete lack of accountability of the state security officers who have control over every aspect of prison life.

Updates the Mosaad Abu Fajr (Musaad Abu Fagr) case: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/91552

For further information on the Karim Ameer (Karim Amer, Abdel Karim Suliman Amer, Abdel Kareem Nabil Suleiman) case, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/96719

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