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Egypt blogger jailed for 'insult'

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posted on Feb, 22 2007 @ 07:37 AM

[BBC World News]

An Egyptian court has sentenced an internet blogger to four years' prison for insulting Islam and the president.

Abdel Kareem Soliman's trial was the first time that a blogger had been prosecuted in Egypt.

He had used his weblog to criticise the country's top Islamic institution, the al-Azhar university and President Hosni Mubarak, whom he called a dictator.

A human rights group called the verdict "very tough" and a "strong message" to Egypt's thousands of bloggers.

Mr Soliman, 22, was tried in his native city of Alexandria. He blogs under the name Kareem Amer.

A former student at al-Azhar, he called the institution "the university of terrorism" and accused it of suppressing free thought.

The university expelled him in 2006 and pressed prosecutors to put him on trial.

During the five-minute court session the judge said Soliman was guilty and would serve three years for insulting Islam and inciting sedition, and one year for insulting Mr Mubarak.

Egypt arrested a number of bloggers who had been critical of the government during 2006, but they were all freed.

"This is a strong message to all bloggers who are put under strong surveillance that the punishment will very strong," Hafiz Abou Saada of the Egyptian Human Rights Organisation told Associated Press.

The one way you should never attempt to push loyalty is through punishment.
Those who are punished, only bide their time till they can seek vengeance.
That being said, this is a horrible move for Egypt. The internet is a forum of free speech, and should be protected as such.

Anyhow, this is the first blogger to be arrested for disagreeing with the government. I can assure there will be more, this one is being used as an example, there will no doubt be more bloggers who speak out due to this, and more arrests due to them.

My question is, if one can be arrested for speaking against the government, what can the current government do to any rivals who want to be in power themselves?

If you block free speach and oppinion, you are just a hair width from being a dictatorship.


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