An anonymous reader writes: 22-year old Egyptian blogger and former law student Abdelkareem Nabil Soliman (aka Kareem Amer) was sentenced by an Egyptian court on Thursday to 4 years in prison, three years for "disparaging religion" and a fourth one added for "defaming the president." Amer, whose blog is still online, has become a cause celebre for human rights activists in Egypt and around the Arab world, who have set up a "Free Kareem!" campaign calling for his release online. Amer's case is interesting in that almost everything, from the crime itself to those rallying to Amer's aid, has been conducted in large part over the Internet. At one point, the legal defense team even tried to force the court to bring in a computer expert who could testify that the blog was hosted outside of Egypt and therefore out of the court's jurisdiction. While for an increasing number of individuals like Amer, blogging has become another form of regulated expression, it is also "an essential communication strategy for many frustrated Arabs who use blogging as a tool to promote democratization," as this editorial by one of the leaders of the "Free Kareem!" campaign claims.
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