Internet Writer Kareem Amer Ill-Treated
International PEN is seriously concerned for the well-being of Internet writer Kareem Amer following reports that he has been ill-treated in detention at Borg Alarab prison, where he is serving his four-year sentence. PEN calls for these allegations to be investigated and for their findings to be made public. It reminds the Egyptian authorities of their obligations under 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. International PEN seeks assurances of Kareem Amer’s well-being, and renews its call for his immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Egypt is a signatory.
According to a lawyer from the Arabic Network for Human Rights, who visited Kareem Amer on August 30, 2008, Amer is in a poor state of health and continues to be ill-treated in jail. 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 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.
Kareem Amer has 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. The incident followed an allegation of corruption made by Amer against the prison authorities in late 2007. His lawyers filed a complaint to the Prosecution Office 10 months ago, however, no investigation has yet been launched.
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 18 January 2007. He was sentenced to four years in prison on February 22, 2007.
Kareem Amer is a former al-Azhyar University student and is known for his secular views and his critical writings on Islam and Egypt’s highest religious authorities published online.
This is not the first time Kareem Amer has been detained for his critical writings. He was held for 12 days in October 2005 for his articles on Islam and his coverage of sectarian riots in Alexandria. These articles also led to his dismissal from al-Azhar University in March 2006 after its disciplinary board found him guilty of blasphemy against Islam.
Write A Letter
- Expressing serious concern at reports that Kareem Amer is being ill-treated while in detention in Borg Alarab prison, and urging that they are fully investigated;
- Reminding the Egyptian authorities of their obligations to the United Nations Convention against Torture;
- Seeking assurances of Kareem Amer’s well-being, and calling 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.
PEN recommends that you copy your appeal to the Egyptian embassy in your country, asking them to forward it and welcoming any comments.
Send Your Letter To
His Excellency Mohammad Hosni Mubarak
President of the Republic of Egypt
Fax: +202 390 1998
WITH COPIES TO...
His Excellency Dr. Mamdouh Muheiddin Marei
Minister of Justice
Magles El Shaab St
Fax: +202 7958103
Please check with PEN if sending appeals after October 20, 2008: ftw [at] pen.org