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Investigation into assault on blogger terminated

(ANHRI/IFEX) - On 28 October 2009, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) reported that the prosecution decided to terminate an investigation into a complaint filed by the well known blogger Wael Abbas in April, after he was physically assaulted by a police officer and his brother. The investigation was closed allegedly due to a lack of evidence, despite the submission of three medical reports, including a forensic medical report documenting the injuries inflicted on Abbas, and the fact that one of the blogger's front teeth was broken as a result of the assault.

Police officer Ashraf Aglan, of the emergency department, and his brother Ahmed Aglan, broke into Abbas's house in Cairo's Hadayeq Alqobba district in April, and assaulted him.

The officer used his connections to enable his brother to file a report against Abbas accusing him of assault. However, Abbas was able to file a complaint as well.

On 11 April, the prosecution heard testimonies from Abbas, his mother, the officer and his brother. The prosecution then decided to release Abbas. The officer and his brother were released as well after paying a financial guarantee of LE200 (approx. US$37) each.

In late October, the prosecution put an end to the investigation, allegedly due to a lack of evidence. ANHRI expressed concern over the prosecution's decision to terminate the investigation despite the presence of the three medical reports recording Abbas's injuries.


BACKGROUND:

This decision comes on the heels of a series of attacks against Abbas, due to campaigns that he launches via his famous blog "Egyptian Awareness", http://misrdigital.blogspirit.com , monitoring crimes of torture in Egypt.

Abbas was subjected to an unfair smear campaign by a senior police officer, General Ahmed Dia El-Din, who insulted and defamed Abbas while speaking on a number of television programs. Instead of punishing the officer for his behavior, the Egyptian government appointed him governor of Minya.

On more than one occasion, Abbas has been harassed or threatened at the Cairo airport upon his departure and arrival. The blogger's laptop was seized by the authorities earlier in 2009 and has not been returned. Moreover, some of his belongings, including CDs, PC storage media and a digital camera, were confiscated in September.

Abbas told ANHRI, "I was under the impression that the prosecutor general would protect me from the unfair practices of the Ministry of the Interior. However, the silence of the prosecution regarding the robbery by police officers at the airport when they seized my laptop, although I submitted a formal complaint, and now the termination of my complaint against the officer who attacked me, after six months of investigations and despite the injury that still shows on my face . . . This silence makes me wonder, to whom may we complain? Who is administering justice in Egypt?"

ANHRI said, "At the same time as many credible international human rights and media organizations award Wael Abbas for his bravery and for disclosing many incidents of torture and corruption in Egypt, the Ministry of the Interior has resorted to punitive and libelous measures against him as well as physical attacks and the illegal seizure of his belongings.

"We believe that these practices will not stop because Wael Abbas will not stop writing in support of freedom of expression and the pro-democracy movement.

"We support Abbas's right to express opinions and criticize. We call on all organizations defending freedom of expression in Egypt and worldwide to support this courageous blogger, urging the Egyptian government to stop the arbitrary actions against him, and to open fair and transparent investigations regarding the violations which Abbas has suffered perpetrated by the officers of the Ministry of the Interior".

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
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Case history


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