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Egyptian activist arrested in Saudi Arabia

(ANHRI/IFEX) - Cairo, 14 November 2010 - The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) condemned the 13 November 2010 detention of Egyptian citizen Usama Mishref in Saudi Arabia. Usama is the coordinator of the Saudi branch of the Egyptian group, the National Assembly for Change. He was on his way from Riyadh to Mecca to launch the campaign "You Are The Only Way Out" in support of democratic reform in Egypt.

Usama had posted a video on YouTube urging Egyptians not to be afraid of the security police and to support demands for change and democratic reform in Egypt. Usama expected this to be his last message since he had the feeling he was going to be detained shortly. His fears came true; he was on his way from Riyadh to Mecca to start the campaign when Saudi security detained him and transferred him directly to Milz prison. He is expected to lose his job and be deported like the group of Egyptians who were deported from Kuwait in April for supporting democratic reform in Egypt.

ANHRI expresses deep distress at the severe oppression of public freedoms in Saudi Arabia. Saudi activists like Soliman Rashoudi are not the only ones subjected to oppression. Cases such as Usama's also illustrate the Saudi animosity towards freedom of expression and the systematic suppression of dissent, even when the issue not a Saudi affair.

In April 2010, the Saudi government blocked the website http://eacusa.org/ , which is linked to the National Assembly for Change, 15 hours after it was launched.

ANHRI said, "Detaining the Egyptian citizen Usama Mishref and blocking the site of the National Assembly for Change in Saudi Arabia are displays of the enormous animosity of the Saudi government towards freedom of expression. The two incidents are proof of the everlasting cooperation between Arab governments to restrict public freedoms and persecute dissidents, rendering the Arab region the biggest spot of oppression on Earth, where governments work together against Arab citizens."
Click here to see Usama Mishref's last message on YouTube

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