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Imprisoned author Karim Amer in poor state of health, harassed and denied basic rights

(ANHRI/IFEX) - ANHRI reports from the Borg Al-Arab prison, in the Alexandrian desert, that Karim Amer, an author imprisoned for exercising his freedom of expression, has been subjected to significant ill-treatment.

ANHRI's lawyer Rawda Ahmed visited Amer in prison on 30 August 2008. She was shocked to find him in a poor state of health. He told her that the prison administration has prevented him from going out of his cell to the prison yard to gain exposure to sunlight like other prisoners and that he has been harassed by fellow prison inmates, who were ordered to do so by the administration. Some of his books have also been seized from his cell.

Ahmed noticed that Amer suffers from double-standard treatment in prison. For example, during visits, he is treated according to the strict rules that apply to political prisoners, but he is held in the criminal prisoners division, where he is treated like them and, therefore, deprived of his rights as a political prisoner.

The ill-treatment of Karim Amer is not just from the prison administration's side. It has extended to the Prosecution Office, which has declined to file his case, which his lawyers from ANHRI presented ten months ago. Since then, no investigation has taken place, even though the case has been brought to the attention of the Prosecutor General.

ANHRI demands that Karim Amer be treated like any ordinary prisoner inside the jail, with neither special treatment nor constraints, until the court rules on his appeal. ANHRI also expresses hope that the court will be fair after the experience of Amer's trials at the First Degree Court and Court of Appeal.

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