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Blogger detained at Cairo airport

(ANHRI/IFEX) - The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) expresses its strong condemnation of the way the security at the Cairo airport deals with bloggers and activists. Wael Abbas, who is known for his blog "Alwa'y Elmasry" ( ), was stopped and searched. Moreover, his camera memory cards and CDs as well two USB memory sticks were illegally seized. Wael was also subject to verbal abuse by the customs officers who were encouraged by state security officers.

Wael was returning from Lebanon on the evening of 7 August 2009, after participating in a conference on climate change and the role of the media's coverage of the problem, when he was detained by the security forces for nearly three hours and then searched by customs officers, who seized his personal belongings. When he asked to be turned over to the Prosecutor General to find out if charges were being brought against him, they refused and insulted him. When Wael continued to press to find out what the charges against him were, one officer told him, "You know what you are doing", referring to his work as a well-known blogger.

Security forces had previously seized Wael's laptop on 30 June, following his detention for approximately 13 hours. Any attempts by Wael and ANHRI's lawyers to learn anything about the fate of the computer were unsuccessful.

Gamal Eid, the executive director of ANHRI, said, "Wael Abbas contacted us and left his phone on so that we could hear the insults directed at him at the airport. It is crude behavior, and the Ministry of Interior should feel ashamed of such practices."
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