September 15, 2008

His Excellency Mohammad Hosni Mubarak
President of the Republic of Egypt
Fax: + 202 390 1998

Your Excellency,

On behalf of the 3,300 members of PEN American Center, an international organization of writers dedicated to protecting freedom of expression wherever it is threatened, we are writing to express our grave concern for the well-being of Internet writer and activist Abdel Kareem Nabil Suleiman, also known as Kareem Amer.

According to our information, a lawyer from the Arabic Network for Human Rights, who visited Amer on August 30, 2008, reports that Amer is in poor health and continues to be ill-treated at Borg Alarb prison, where he is serving his four-year sentence. He must follow the strict rules that apply to political prisoners during visits, although he remains in the criminal prisoners division, where he is treated without any consideration of his rights as a political prisoner. Reports also suggest that the prison administration does not allow him to go to the prison yard as others do and that fellow inmates harass him under orders of the prison administration. Amer had previously reported being threatened and ill-treated in prison by officials and by other prisoners and that he spent time in a disciplinary cell, where he received further beatings and was denied sufficient food and water.

Kareem Amer was summoned to appear before the office of the Public Prosecutor in Alexandria on November 7, 2006 after posting articles critical of Islam on his blog. He was charged with “incitement to hate Muslims,” “defaming the President of the Republic,” and “insulting Islam,” and was held on renewable two-week detention orders until his trial began on January 18, 2007. He was sentenced to four years in prison on February 22, 2007.

PEN American Center is seriously concerned for the well-being of Kareem Amer and calls for an investigation into reports that he is being ill-treated in detention in contravention of the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and Articles 126, 127 and 139 of the Egyptian Criminal Code. We seek assurances of Mr. Amer’s well-being, and renew our call for his immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Egypt is a signatory.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.


Hannah Pakula
Chair, Freedom to Write Committee

Larry Siems
Director, Freedom to Write and International Programs

CC: H.E. Dr. Mamdouh Muheiddin Marei
Minister of Justice
Magles El Shaab St
Justice Bldg
Cairo, Egypt
Fax: +202 795 8103

H.E. Nabil Fahmy
Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to the United States
3521 International Court NW
Washington, DC 20008
Fax: (202) 244 4319

>> Back to Rapid Action