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Egypt Arrests More Bloggers 209

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the not-everyone-has-a-1st-amendment dept.
2think writes "The BBC is reporting that after bloggers highlighted recent public sexual harassment within view of Egyptian police, the government of Egypt has been arresting bloggers." From the article: "The most recently detained blogger, Abdel Kareem Nabil, was detained in Alexandria on 6 November and was charged with disrupting public order, inciting religious hatred and defaming the president. Amnesty International says Mr Amer appeared to have been detained for expressing critical views about Islam and Egypt's al-Azhar religious authorities."
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Egypt Arrests More Bloggers

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  • Seems like a trend (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Josh Lindenmuth (1029922) <joshlindenmuth@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Monday November 20, 2006 @09:26PM (#16923956) Journal
    It should be no surprise that countries with little or no protection of free speech are arresting people for their comments online. Many bloggers use their real names (or make it easy for police to trace them. The people who would be arrested for public dissent should not be surprised if they are arrested for dissent online ... I would hope that many of these people relish the thought of being arrested for blogging, as it sometimes creates worldwide recognition to their cause or their plight.

    It certainly seems that blogger arrests are on the rise, such as the recent Greek blogger arrested for content he didn't write [newsvine.com], and the constant string of arrested bloggers and other internet users in China (such as documentary filmmaker Hao Wu [blogcritics.org]). This is probably an indication that Governments are just now learning about the influence commanded by a popular blogger rather than a change in policies around the globe ... it's not like governments are quick to catch up with technical trends.
    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday November 20, 2006 @09:37PM (#16924066) Journal
      First: not everyone in the world has a government that allows them the same free speech rights as [your wonderful country here]

      Second: I imagine that the blogger knew that criticizing government officials &/or Islam was a bad career move.

      As usual, TFA isn't that informative.
      Google News [google.com] will usually lead you to a much better (Reuters) article [reuters.com]

      Here's the essentials:
      Egyptian police detained an opposition blogger in a chance security check on Sunday, a human rights group said.

      Blogger Rami Siyam, ..., was detained with three other bloggers leaving a friend's house... The four had been visiting Mohamed el-Sharkawi, himself a blogger who was detained in late July and held for almost three months.

      The area is home to the opposition Ghad (Tomorrow) party's headquarters, and security was especially tight in preparation for President Hosni Mubarak's speech to parliament on Sunday.

      Police asked the four for identification.... They told Siyam their records showed he faced a court case in Sharkia province, and he would be transferred there for further checks. The other three were released.


      It doesn't seem to me that the Egyptian Gov't went out of its way to nab this guy
      • by flyingsquid (813711) on Monday November 20, 2006 @11:42PM (#16924902)
        It doesn't seem to me that the Egyptian Gov't went out of its way to nab this guy

        Read between the lines. Of course the Egyptian government claimed it was random and a routine part of a security initiative. Seriously, what do you expect the Egyptian government to say? "In a targeted operation against political dissidents, we arrested members coming out of an opposition party's headquarters and took them away on bullshit charges, so that we wouldn't have to openly debate their ideas, and so we could discourage other people from speaking out".

        It's exactly the same deal when the White House moves protesters to a "Free Speech Zone" (a name straight out of 1984) so nobody can hear them. They're never in a million years going to come out and admit they're trying to stifle dissent, they're going to claim it's for the safety of the public and the safety of the protestors themselves.

        • by TubeSteak (669689)

          Read between the lines. Of course the Egyptian government claimed it was random and a routine part of a security initiative.

          I'll bold the relevant text from the article I quoted. As a bonus, I'll reorder the sentance so it is blindingly obvious: "a human rights group said Egyptian police detained an opposition blogger in a chance security check on Sunday."

          As for your comment about frees speech zones... have you ever been to Cairo? Or talked to anyone who has? Their security measures are nothing like "Free S

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            As for your comment about frees speech zones... have you ever been to Cairo? Or talked to anyone who has? Their security measures are nothing like "Free Speech Zones" in the U.S. Both the police and army regularly go around armed with automatic weapons because Egypt has very legitimate concerns over political and terrorist/religious fundamentalist violence. Cairo has, quite possibly, the most police per thousand citizens of any major city.

            I visited Cairo in 2003 as part of a day package tour from Cypr

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by 0x0000 (140863)

            have you ever been to Cairo?

            Have you ever been confined to a "Free Speech Zone" ?

            You'll never hear about the other people who get jailed or intimidated into silence... because the world's media doesn't care about them. And this applies to citizens of almost any non-Western country.

            Why do you restrict this to "non-Western" countries? The phenomenon you're describing (media ignoring injustice unless there exists both governmental sanction to report it and a chance to get a ratings boost from it) i

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by filenavigator (944290) *
      That is why it is sick when companies like Cisco, Yahoo, and Google are complicit in the suppression of free speech. They can say all they want, but when they turn over the information that directly results in the arrest of someone they are just as guilty.

      Steve Wiseman
      http://www.windows-admin-tools.com [windows-admin-tools.com]
      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        Not everybody follows the religion that freedom is the highest value; not even most Americans do that. Profit is usually held to be a higher value.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          Great point. It's unfortunate, but global corporations need to abide by their host country's rules, or they need to pull out. Case in point is Microsoft, who has been forced to hand over information to the Chinese government and ban Chinese Bloggers [scobleizer.com]. In the end though, both sides lose ... Microsoft may end up leaving China altogether, and other companies may follow suit in China and elsewhere.
          • by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Monday November 20, 2006 @10:14PM (#16924348) Homepage Journal
            Which is of course against profit- and since they can't sacrifice profit, free speech will be sacrificed instead. Americans are rather weak on ideals, but they're strong on the worship of money. This links back to the article in question because the blogger is a well known socialist and atheist.
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward
            but global corporations need to abide by their host country's rules, or they need to pull out.

            Funny. If I go to, say, Thailand to have sex with a teenager, upon my return I'll be arrested for having violated an American law. When a corporation goes to another country and fucks over its residents, that's just profit.
    • In Canada, where we also lack the First Ammendment, but still have free speech, a Conservative Member of Parliament (Garth Turner [garth.ca]) was kicked out of his party for allegedly revealing confidential caucus information on his widely read blog. Another Conservative blogger shut down his blog after winning the election in January. It makes me wonder how long bloggers will be able to go for in North American without "press licenses" or something of that sort.
      • by Steve B (42864) on Monday November 20, 2006 @10:38PM (#16924512)
        a Conservative Member of Parliament (Garth Turner [garth.ca]) was kicked out of his party for allegedly revealing confidential caucus information on his widely read blog

        Even by absolutist American standards of free speech, that's not a problem -- the party gets to make rules for what members are allowed to do, and kick out people who don't comply.
      • I'm a strong supporter of rights to free speech, and I was really reading the thread in preparation of making a comment on how this incident in Egypt is an excellent example of how "hate speech" (in the example, the allegation of 'inciting religious hatred') can be used to arbitrarily curtail speech. This could easily happen in the U.S. in Europe; anyone who "rocks the boat" or causes controversy or offends someone else could find themselves slapped with a 'hate speech' violation.

        However, with that said, I
  • Learn about Egypt (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Egypt is one of those countries which has a horrible human rights records that you rarely hear about in the United States because they have been allies with our government. In other words, our media and government normally look the other way at the human rights abuses in Egypt. You can listen to a very informative interview here [pbs.org] about an attorney in the United States who has been imprisoned for helping a prisoner to communicate with political allies in Egypt.
    • by dbIII (701233)
      government normally look the other way at the human rights abuses in Egypt

      You are wrong - they "rendered" prisoners to Egypt specificly becuase of the history of human rights abuses.

      If you really want to see co-operation with a very nasty bunch take a look at what US troops are helping with in Algeria - let's hope they don't bring some bad habits home.

  • Wah' dijah get? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by djupedal (584558) on Monday November 20, 2006 @09:52PM (#16924178)
    "...and was charged with disrupting public order, inciting religious hatred and defaming the president."

    All we need now is a set of 8 X 10 glossies, some turkey stuffing and a gang of father-rapers.

    Face it - if a pair of handcuffs have your name on them, you're going downtown and the charges only have to stick for as long as it takes to throw you in the back of the paddy wagon. Once they find out how this all works, they'll put this guy, or someone like him, on their payroll with those otherwise shady tactics working for their own purposes.
  • by heli0 (659560) on Monday November 20, 2006 @10:22PM (#16924402)
    Here is the type of incident they have been blogging about.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2SGamUeMec [youtube.com]
  • nothing yet? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by c6gunner (950153) on Monday November 20, 2006 @11:25PM (#16924798)
    What's going on here? Not a single comment blaming this on the Iraq war? Nobody trying to tell us that the US is a much worse police state? Wow. Must be an off-day for the slashdot trolls.
    • What's going on here? Not a single comment blaming this on the Iraq war? Nobody trying to tell us that the US is a much worse police state? Wow. Must be an off-day for the slashdot trolls.

      apparently not.
  • I wonder if many Protestant Europeans tried to help the Catholics in Catholic countries who spoke out publicly about the Catholic Church's Inquisition.

    The media was much more direct and local (mostly word of mouth, except the church sermons and monarch's decrees), the population smaller, the expectations of free expression and even justice much lower.

    But people were still people. I wonder how much more support people in places like Egypt get from freer people outside, proportionately, than in similar situat
  • You do realize that bloggers can be arrested for "inciting religious hatred" in any number of so-called western democracies, right?
  • by bluesangria (140909) on Monday November 20, 2006 @11:37PM (#16924858)
    Simple. They witnessed an incident of rioting and mass sexual assaults occurring just after Ramadan during the festival of Eid. The bloggers were witnesses to the police standing by idly while gangs of frenzied men randomly attacked countless women. It was not just "harassment" (such a polite term). It was physical and sexual assaults, beatings, clothes tearing, and rape. It was so bad that shopkeepers and taxi drivers were having to hide women in their shops and cars to protect them from the mobs. The bloggers (many of them men themselves) were outraged.
    The Egyptian government was embarrassed, but its response was to completely deny the incident and censor its press from reporting it. Hence, the outrage came out in the blogs. Note that this happened almost 4 weeks ago on Oct 24 and it's just NOW starting to come out. The government has also taken the stance that the bloggers are trying to "humiliate" Egypt and Islam by talking about the incidence and that's why they are persecuted. Please read these articles for more information

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/15/world/africa/15c airo.html [nytimes.com]

    http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=56301& SelectRegion=Middle_East [irinnews.org]

    http://www.sandmonkey.org/2006/10/30/the-eid-sexua l-harassment-incident/ [sandmonkey.org]

  • There are lots of countries on this planet that pretend they have adopted Democracy and western values, but their internal affairs prove they haven't.

    The one thing that holds those countries back is religion. Religion is a prison in those countries: it does not let you think on your own.

    The real battle is not to fight for free speech, but to fight religions...
  • The BBC is reporting that after bloggers highlighted recent public sexual harassment within view of Egyptian police, the government of Egypt has been arresting bloggers.

    I heard a program on the BBC World Service a couple of weeks ago, when this public sexual harassment was taking place.

    Apparently, according to one of the people being interviewed, there is very high unemployment amongst young men in Egypt at the moment. This leads them to gather in large groups with nothing to do. Also, because sex before ma

  • The Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt
    3521 International Ct. NW
    Washington DC 20008

    Phone (202) 895 5400
    Fax (202) 244 5131

    Email: embassy@egyptembdc.org

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