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Website director detained in latest wave of media repression

(HRinfo/IFEX) - "The systematic campaign launched by the Egyptian government against opposition candidates and the Muslim Brotherhood to prevent them from running in the next local elections in Egypt should not divert attention from the increase in the number of prisoners of conscience," as stated on 9 March 2008 by HRinfo.

Dr. Ayman Nour who is being tried on unfair charges, and the secular blogger Kareem Amer, who is also sentenced to a four-year imprisonment, because of his writings on the internet, are not the only prisoners of conscience; the list also includes the novelist and political activist Musaad Abu Fagr, who was arrested despite the fact that several release judgments were issued, engineer Ali Abdul-Fattah, the director of the Egyptian Media Center and a member of the Committee for Supporting the Palestinian People, and Khaled Hamza the director of "Ikhwan-web"
( ), who was arrested in February 2008.

Most of them lie behind bars, either because of Emergency Law detention decisions or military tribunals and investigations, none of which reflect the essence of justice.

HRinfo also stated that "the severe deterioration of general freedoms and bad economic situations should not make us forget the prisoners of conscience in Egypt, as we shall all be ashamed if we kept silent while the Egyptian prisons are harbouring all these numbers of prisoners arrested for no crime but their calling for democracy."

Musaad Abu Fagr was arrested following release judgments, which denies the Egyptian government allegations of using the Emergency Law only against drug traffickers and those involved in terrorist attacks.

Moreover, the Egyptian government itself so far did not provide justifications for the detention of engineer Ali Abdul-Fattah, who has been detained since the end of January.

While Egyptian citizens were occupied with the unspeakable economic crisis and opposition powers were inflicted with violations aiming to prevent them from running in the local elections, the Egyptian government was muffling more free voices by detaining the director of the Ikhwan website Khaled Hamza more than two weeks ago.

This large campaign of attacks and arrests witnessed by Egypt can be considered the worst since the early eighties. The respect of law and the basic rights of the detained activists has deteriorated, whether in terms of trying to know the reasons for detentions, informing lawyers or respecting the issued judgements.

HRinfo warns against the continuation of these police-style situations and severe repressions, which result in a state of anger widespread among all classes of Egyptian society.

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