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Blogger remains in detention despite release of other prisoners of conscience

(ANHRI/IFEX) - On 6 July 2010, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) said that Mossad Abu Fagr, a blogger and novelist from Sinai who has been detained in an Egyptian prison since 26 December 2007, has not been released along with other prisoners of conscience. Abu Fagr was detained after writing critical opinions of the Egyptian government on his blog, which can be found at

The Egyptian Interior Ministry has released as many as 14 other Sinai detainees, but, despite pressure from local and international human rights organizations, the authorities have decided to keep Abu Fagr behind bars.

Several judicial release orders have been issued for Abu Fagr, but the Interior Ministry has objected to the rulings and has responded by issuing a series of detention orders aimed at keeping the blogger in prison.

The Egyptian government recently decided to limit the scope of the emergency law to only those cases involving the drug trade or terrorism. As such, the government promised to begin releasing prisoners who had been detained on accusations other than terrorism or drug trafficking starting on 1 June. However, more than a month has passed and Egyptian prisoners of conscience, including Abu Fagr, are still in detention.

ANHRI pointed out that the fact that some Sinai detainees were released while Abu Fagr was not proves that the Egyptian government has no regard for its own laws and treaties, or even the promises of its own officials.

ANHRI expressed its deep dissatisfaction with the arbitrary way in which the Interior Ministry is treating Abu Fagr and with the harsh treatment he faces. ANHRI also issued a reminder that a UN resolution has declared Abu Fagr a prisoner of conscience and that there have been constant demands to comply with the judicial orders to release him.

As a result of the Interior Ministry's actions, Abu Fagr remains imprisoned and deprived of his legitimate right to express his opinion. ANHRI has called on the Interior Ministry to cease its oppressive practices and respect the court orders that have been issued for the release of Abu Fagr.

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