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New arrest warrant issued against novelist Mosaad Abu Fagr; lawyers prevented from meeting with imprisoned blogger Kareem Amer

(ANHRI/IFEX) - ANHRI considers the new arrest warrant issued against Mosaad Abu Fagr, the Sinai activist and novelist, to be a continuation of oppressive policies on the part of the Ministry of the Interior and a violation of local and international treaties, especially as it fails to take into consideration the many court decisions ordering the novelist's release.

The Hisham Mubarak Law Centre (HMLC) has said that both Mosaad Abu Fagr and his brother Ahmed were moved to the Borg Al Arab prison after having spent more than a week in detention in Arish, Sinai. This latest arrest warrant constitutes the 13th such order issued against Mosaad Abu Fagr.

In December 2008, an administrative court ordered the Ministry of the Interior to release Mosaad Abu Fagr after it reviewed an appeal of his case. Subsequently, the HMLC obtained a large number of orders from the state security emergency court for Mosaad Abu Fagr's release. The Ministry of the Interior not only completely ignored the release orders, but has instead issued a new arrest warrant.

ANHRI calls on the Ministry of the Interior to comply with the court orders and release both Mosaad and Ahmed Abu Fagr since their lives are at stake in prison.

Mosaad Abu Fagr was originally arrested on 1 January 2007, but orders were subsequently given for his release. The Ministry of the Interior then turned him over to the prosecution on the basis of a new accusation. Once again, his lawyers managed to obtain orders for his release. However, the Ministry of the Interior then used the emergency law to keep him in prison, issuing an arrest warrant against him on 17 March 2008. Several court decisions ordering Mosaad Abu Fagr's release from detention under the emergency law have also been issued. The Ministry of the Interior, however, has insisted on keeping him behind bars for as long as possible.

In a separate case, ANHRI believes that the reluctance of the Prosecutor's Office to investigate statements filed by ANHRI lawyers regarding assaults on blogger Kareem Amer and the banning of visits to him have been seen as a green light by prison officers to engage in bullying. On 16 July 2009, ANHRI lawyers were prevented from visiting the blogger. This was the third time that visitors have been prevented from seeing Kareem Amer.

Three ANHRI lawyers went to visit Kareem Amer in the Borg Al Arab prison in Alexandria after having received a visitation permit from the Alexandria Attorney General's Office. This was the third attempt to visit Kareem Amer after an officer known as "Mohamed Ali" refused to receive ANHRI lawyers in his office in May. At that time, he told his assistants to inform the lawyers that they would not be allowed to visit Kareem Amer even though they had the necessary permits and had travelled 250 km from Cairo to the prison.

While in the prison waiting room before being informed that they would not be allowed to visit the blogger, the ANHRI lawyers heard prison personnel calling out "VIPs, VIPs." The lawyers were shocked to learn that some visitors have business cards or recommendation letters from officers or individuals in high places. "VIP" visitors get through to see prisoners easily despite having no official visitation permits, while the ANHRI lawyers, who had all the necessary permits, were not allowed to see Kareem Amer, who has been in complete seclusion since March 2009. Although the ANHRI lawyers were not allowed to visit the blogger on 16 July, they did manage to receive a letter from him after bribing a prison officer with a significant amount of money.

On 6 July, reporter Magdi Samaan went to visit Kareem Amer in prison but he was stopped by officer Mamdouh Ibrahim. In the letter ANHRI lawyers received from Kareem Amer, he wrote that he took a look in the prison log book, where he found out that the prison officers, led by Mamdouh Ibrahim, wrote on 6 July that "Kareem refused to come out of his cell to meet the so called Magdi Samaan." In his letter, Amer said, "this is an utter fabrication."

In March 2009 United Nations' experts denounced Kareem Amer's imprisonment - .

In November 2007, Kareem Amer was tortured and physically assaulted by a prison officer. ANHRI lawyers filed a statement reporting the torture to the prosecutor general but, to date, no investigation into the incident has taken place. On 23 May 2009, ANHRI lawyers filed a statement requesting an investigation into the prohibition on visits to Kareem Amer, but, again, there has been no follow-up.

The last visit to Kareem Amer took place in March 2009. On three subsequent occasions, visits were not allowed, twice when ANHRI lawyers went to the prison and once when Magdi Samaan tried to see him. Considering the length of his time in seclusion and the previous incident involving torture, ANHRI is extremely concerned for the bloggers's safety. A hearing of Kareem Amer's case by the Court of Cassation is scheduled for 17 August and there is concern that the prison administration will attempt to fabricate charges against the blogger to hinder his expected release by the court.

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