Miss Mabrouk of Egypt

Check the archives too - a lot of good stuff to enjoy. Me myself? Off to new adventures in the blogosphere, if time permits.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Egyptian Blogger Detained

An Egyptian blogger was taken from his home by Egyptian State Security on Wednesday 26 October. The security agency (Amn al-Dawla). confiscated hard copies of his writings. It is reported that he is now on his way to an unknown detention. Says Alaa:

"Abdolkarim Nabil Seliman is a 21 year-old Egyptian student of law at the Azhar University, Damanhour Campus, a women's-rights activist and a correspondent for Copts United. In addition to writing at Civic Dialogue, he also publishes at a blog he maintains.

Three Egyptian bloggers visited Abdolkarim's family. The family attributed the state security raid to his writings, although it was not clear if his blogging is directly related. According to his brother, Abdolkarim's relations with Islamist Fundamentalists in his neighborhood of Moharram Bek, Alexandria, are tense. It is possible that the fundamentalists have filed a security complaint that led to his detention."

Baheyya is reporting that Seliman "lives in the Muharram Bek neighborhood that witnessed rioting by 5,000 Muslims outside the Mar Girgis Church on Oct. 21, resulting in three deaths and more than 100 wounded. Security forces detained 100-some rioters but recently released many of them."

Baheyya says "It remains to be seen whether he has been "preventively detained" for the usual 15-day chunks and whether he will be formally charged by State Security Prosecution. The first few days (sometimes weeks) of a detention are always the murkiest, with Amn al-Dawla deliberately keeping everyone in the dark to instill fear and confusion. The causes of Karim's detention thus remain entirely unclear. Did neighborhood toughs instigate the police to arrest him? Are security agents punishing Abdel Karim for his writings? "

Bloggers and readers are questioning why we should defend Seliman, on grounds that his own writing is radical and questionable. Don't let them get away with it! Credits to Alaa and Baheyya for defending his freedom of expression. To use the words of Baheyya:

"It seems to me counterproductive to traffic in unsubstantiated theories and rumours, or to reflexively sensationalise this as an Iranian-style 'crackdown on bloggers,' or to bicker about whether Abdel Karim's views are "representative" or worth defending. This is basic: a person's views are never the issue when it comes to arbitrary and unlawful detention. The issue is security agents' behaviour, plain and simple. ... It is much more important now to monitor the situation closely and work to obtain concrete information from State Security, as Egypt's human rights groups have always done in these situations."

Amr has alerted the Commitee to Protect Bloggers and are posting news in Arabic and English with the technorati tag .

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