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Interior Ministry reveals intention to keep blogger in prison

(ANHRI/IFEX) - The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) has discovered the intentions of the Interior Ministry to deprive Egyptian blogger Kareem Amer of his right to be released after having completed three quarters of his prison term, as per legal stipulations for all prisoners. Kareem Amer has already spent three years in the Borg Al Arab prison.

Officials at the Egyptian prisons department, which is affiliated with the Interior Ministry, informed ANHRI lawyers that the release request submitted by ANHRI will not be approved by the State Security Service and that the release order has to come from "high above", indicating from the president.

Kareem Amer has the right to be released on 5 November 2009, as he will have completed his third year in prison, which is three quarters of the four-year sentence handed down to him after investigations and unfair trials based on opinion articles he published on his blog and on the "Al Hewar Al Motamaden" website.

The court of cassation will issue its ruling on the appeal submitted by the ANHRI lawyers who are representing Kareem Amer on 20 October. Although the ANHRI lawyers and defenders of freedom of expression in Egypt and worldwide hope that the court will be order a retrial, Kareem Amer has the right to be released after having completed three quarters of his prison term, irrespective of the cassation ruling.

ANHRI called on President Mubarak to instruct the interior minister to set Kareem Amer free, especially since the ministry has released police officer Islam Nabih, who had been convicted of torture.

"Nabih benefited from the legal stipulation of release after serving three quarters of his prison term, and he was allowed to return to his work as a police officer. There is a big difference between a prisoner of conscience and a police officer who had been convicted of one of the most shameful and ruthless crimes - torture," ANHRI noted.

While ANHRI received over 600 birthday cards and support letters for Kareem Amer, the State Security Service has stifled him by banning visits since March, thus exacerbating the conditions of his imprisonment.

ANHRI calls on all defenders of freedom of expression and human rights organisations in Egypt and worldwide to address the Egyptian president and interior minister, calling on them to refrain from denying Kareem Amer his right to freedom after spending three years in one of Egypt's worst prisons.


RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Send appeals to the president and interior minister:
- calling on them to approve Kareem Amer's release from prison


APPEALS TO:

Mr. President Mohamed Hosny Mubarak
President of the Arab Republic of Egypt.
Abdin Palace
Cairo, Egypt
Fax: +202 239 019 98
E-mail: [email protected]

Mr. Habib Al Adley
Minister of Interior
Sheikh Rihan St, 11461
Cairo, Egypt
Fax: +202 279 483 00
E-mail: [email protected]

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