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Police detain publisher, raid his house

(IPA/IFEX) - Geneva, 7 April 2010 - International Publishers' Association (IPA) expressed its outrage following reports that Egyptian police have arrested an Egyptian publisher because of a controversial book he has published.

Ahmed Mahana, the CEO of Dawan publishing house, was arrested on 3 April 2010 and released in the following days. Security services also raided and searched Mahana's residence, confiscating copies of the book in question.

The book, entitled "El Baradei and the Dream of the Green Revolution", is about the former head of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency. The book also calls for political change in Egypt.

Says IPA President Herman P. Spruijt: "Egypt has a long literary tradition and Egyptian publishers publish books with a range of political views. It is deeply worrying if publishers are intimidated, in particular before parliamentary elections. Modern societies need courageous, critical and independent publishers, who publish a range of books from authors with different perspectives. IPA supports the Arab and Egyptian Publishers Associations who fight for the freedoms publishers need. This arrest is a setback for a free publishing industry in Egypt."

Adds Jens Bammel: "Kidnapping a publisher is an attack on the fundamental freedoms of society. Confiscating a book is an act of censorship and a sign of cowardice. IPA urges the Egyptian government to give publishers the freedoms they need to enable society to progress."

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