REGIONS:

SUBSCRIBE:

Sign up for weekly updates

Second blogger detained at secret location

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders has called on the Egyptian authorities to reveal the charges against two bloggers who are being held at secret locations in defiance of their basic rights.

Reda Abderrahman Ali, an employee of the al-Azhar Islamic Institute, was arrested at his home on 27 October 2008 and a second blogger, Mohammed Adel, a supporter of the Palestinian Islamist party Hamas, was arrested on 20 November. Their families' appeals for information have been met with silence.

"These two new arrests confirm Egypt's place among the 15 countries we list as 'Internet Enemies'", the worldwide press freedom organisation said. "When it comes to silencing a blogger, who by definition does not have a news organisation ready to publicly support him, the Egyptian authorities do not bother themselves with following the most basic rules of law".

"The secret detention of these two bloggers is intolerable. We urge their release as quickly as possible since no charges have, to date, been laid against them", it added.

Around 20 police officers turned up at 2 a.m. (local time) on 27 October 2008 at the home of 32-year-old Reda Abderrahman Ali ( http://www.elaphblog.com/page.aspx?U=459&page=2 ), in the village of Abu Hariz, in the north-east of the country.

The blogger's sister told Reporters Without Borders that the security forces searched his room and seized his computer. In the days following his arrest, the family sent letters to the interior ministry as well as to President Hosni Mubarak, but these letters have so far gone unanswered. One month after his arrest, his family does not know what he is to be charged with or where he is being held.

Abderrahman Ali has been blogging for nearly two years. During this time he has had countless problems with his employer in connection with his writing. His sister said he had been threatened with legal proceedings by al-Azhar for his articles on the Koranist movement, of which he is a member and who believe that the practice of Islam should not be based on any text other than the Koran.

Security forces arrested the blogger Mohammed Adel ( http://43arb.info/meit ) on 20 November after searching his parents' home and seizing his books and CDs. According to the Egypt-based Arab Network of Human Rights Information (ANHRI), Mohammed Adel was picked up in the street after a phone call was intercepted by police. ANHRI said it believed he may be being held at the headquarters in Cairo of state security.

Mohammed Adel makes clear his support for Hamas on his blog and openly criticises President Mubarak, accusing him of "being more concerned about the security of Israelis than of the Palestinian people". In his most recent article, posted on 10 November 2008, the blogger justified Hamas' decision to take forcible control of the Gaza Strip.

Egypt is ranked in 146th place out of 173 countries on Reporters Without Borders' world press freedom index released on 22 October 2008.

Latest Tweet:

Joudy Boulos has a million stories she wants to write. But as a Syrian freelance journalist living in Damascus, her… https://t.co/4tANPorfkP

Get more stories like this

Sign up for our newsletters and get the most important free expression news delivered to your inbox.

CLOSE