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Jailed blogger beaten by prison officers

(ANHRI/IFEX) - The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) has received a complaint from Christian blogger Hani Nazeer, who is being held at Borg Al Arab prison, in which he said that members of the prison administration violently assaulted him and registered him as a criminal detainee after ANHRI disclosed pressures by the administration to force him to convert to Islam in return for his freedom.

The Christian blogger managed to send information to ANHRI stating that he and other inmates had been beaten by prison officers and had their heads shaved by force. Nazeer said that he has now been registered as a criminal detainee, which puts his life in danger as he will be imprisoned with drug dealers and murderers.

Nazeer was arrested by Egyptian security services, with the collusion of Bishop Kirollos of Nagea Hammadi. He earlier complained to ANHRI lawyers that he was being pressured to convert to Islam in exchange for his freedom. After refusing to give in, Nazeer was seriously assaulted by prison officers. All requests to investigate his complaints have so far gone unanswered.

"Egyptian officials should be ashamed of lying about not applying the emergency law for prisoners of conscience," said ANHRI executive director Gamal Eid. "Hani Nazeer and Mosaad Abu Fagr were not arrested for drug dealing, but because of their writings and opinions. Hani was turned in with the aid of a bishop, pressured to turn to Islam, ANHRI lawyers were not allowed to visit him even though they had the necessary authorisation, and now he is being beaten and the prosecution is silent as a mouse. If this is not impunity, what can it be called?"

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