February 25, 2009

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

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

Your Excellencies,

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 novelist, blogger and activist Mosaad Suleiman Hassan.

According to PEN’s information, Mr. Hassan, pen name Mosaad Abu-Fajr, has been detained without charge since December 26, 2007 for his peaceful activism in support of the Bedouins of the Sinai Peninsula, his own native people, who are said to be ill-treated by the Egyptian authorities in Northern Sinai. The area borders the Gaza Strip, where the political climate is extremely volatile, and the risk of terrorist attack is high. In November 2008 it was reported that Mr. Hassan’s health had sharply deteriorated as a result of a hunger strike, and in early December 2008 he was reportedly moved from Borg Al Arab Prison, possibly in preparation for his release. However, his whereabouts are currently unknown and concerns for his well-being are mounting.

Mr. Hassan has reportedly published one novel entitled Talit el-Badan, the name of a mountain in Sinai province. He is also the editor of the web site Wedna N’ish’ (We Want To Live), which he founded as a mouthpiece for Sinai Bedouins.

PEN American Center is deeply concerned that Mosaad Suleiman Hassan is being held without charge solely for exercising his internationally recognized right to freedom of expression, and therefore 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.


Hannah Pakula
Chair, Freedom to Write Committee

Larry Siems
Director, Freedom to Write and International Programs

Cc: 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