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Blogger still detained despite four court orders calling for his release

(ANHRI/IFEX) - Cairo, 16 December 2009 - The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) condemned the Egyptian Interior Ministry for refusing to act on a release warrant issued on 14 December 2009 by the State Security Supreme Criminal Court. This is the fourth time that a court has called for the release of Christian blogger Hani Nazeer Aziz, owner of the blog "Karz AlHob" ( http://haninazeeraziz.blogspot.com ), which was erased after his arrest in October 2008.

Hani Nazeer was arrested under the emergency law and has been held since October 2008 without any charges being filed against him. The State Security Court issued a fourth order for his release after lawyers from ANHRI's freedom of expression legal aid unit submitted a memorandum to the court detailing how security forces had kidnapped the blogger's brothers and held them as hostages to force Hani Nazeer to turn himself in, even though he had not committed an offense. Moreover, ANHRI's lawyers noted that a church cleric cooperated with the security forces and helped them get a hold of Hani Nazeer in October 2008, when he was arrested and detained at Borg AlArab prison.

Hani Nazeer has been subjected to a series of violations:
- his brothers were abducted
- there were threats that his sisters would be arrested
- a church cleric cooperated with the security forces against him
- he was detained as a criminal rather than a political prisoner
- he was pressured to convert to Islam to obtain his release
- he was forced to reveal the password of his blog, which was then erased by the state security
- ANHRI lawyers were prevented from visiting him
- and finally, the security forces have refused to implement four legal orders calling for his release.

ANHRI said, "the Egyptian interior minister, being responsible for the state security department, ought to feel proud that his men are so shielded off from accountability and punishment, and that judiciary independence has become a meaningless slogan that some officials use to deceive public opinion in Egypt."

ANHRI said that the cases of Hani Nazeer and other prisoners of conscience, as well as victims of impunity in Egypt, will be the living proof of the lies of the Egyptian government in Geneva during the presentation of Egypt's report on human rights conditions in Egypt during the last four years.

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