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Blogger arrested, faces charges under state of emergency law

(ANHRI/IFEX) - On 23 August 2008, ANHRI and the Hisham Mubarak Law Center reported that the state security investigation agency had decided to keep in prison Mohamed Refaat, editor of the blog Matabbat, http://matabbat.blogspot.com . The authorities have turned a blind eye to a 17 August supreme state security prosecution order calling for the young blogger's release.

State security personnel raided Refaat's home early in the morning of 21 July, while the blogger was not at home. They seized his PC and many of his books. When Refaat approached officer Hisham Tawfik that same morning at the state security offices, he was shocked to find out that he was facing the fabricated charges of "inciting to strike on the occasion of 23 July". He was then referred to the state security prosecution office, under case no. 1143, year 2008.

State security subsequently decided to release Refaat on 17 of August, but the state security investigation agency transferred him to the state security investigation quarters. He was detained for one week, until an order to arrest him was issued under the state emergency law.

The state security apparatus has failed to provide any proof of the allegations that led to Refaat's arrest and detention. He was not caught while committing any offences and his blog did not include any mention of the alleged 23 July strike. He was accused of "offending the state institutions, destabilising public security, and inciting others to demonstrate and strike via the Internet". No evidence is required to substantiate these charges.

ANHRI expressed concern over the state security's actions and stressed that the police department should be held accountable for its actions and properly monitored by the Interior Ministry, the institution that oversees it.

ANHRI and the Hisham Mubarak Law Center said, "Mohamed Refaat, a student in the Media Faculty, did not commit any offense, and the security apparatus allegations about his blog are not true. Instead of [receiving] apologies for the bitter days he spent in detention, he is being held under the hateful state of emergency law".

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