Egyptian bloggers, who sometimes double as activists, continue to face the wrath of officials, and are being targeted in the latest attempt by officials to crackdown on humanitarian support to a besieged Gaza.
Blogger's Account Suspended
Besides a Facebook group seeking his freedom, a blog was launched by Adel’s friends, which provides readers with updates about the imprisonment of the young blogger. A new entry on the blog notes that the hosting company of Adel’s blog, suspended his account, without giving reasons. Now Meit's blog is unavailable and a user will find the following message:
This Account Has Been Suspended.Please contact the billing/support department as soon as possible
Meanwhile, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) said today that it has filed a petition with the Council of State against the Minister of Interior demanding that he explains the reasons behind the arrest of Adel on November 20, 2008, and disclose his current whereabouts.
ANHRI has demanded in its petition in this case a million Egyptian pounds in damages in favor of the blogger’s family as a result of the violation of the provisions of the law and the constitution, and the consequences this has had on his family.
Bloggers arrests before an Egyptian caravan to Gaza
The Egyptian blogosphere had been witnessing a wave of arrests, in parallel with arrangements for a humanitarian aid caravan to Gaza, which a number of bloggers were planning to participate in.
Unfortunately, plans for the caravan were aborted yesterday (December 6, 2008), and bloggers were arrested after and before they decided to take part in this initiative.
And while yesterday’s caravan to Gaza was about to move, another young blogger was arrested. Ahmad Abdel-Fattah, who writes on the famous collective blog “Yallay”, was taken to a police station, where he was detained for one day. He was later on released, without charges.
Abdel-Fattah manged to send a message to the Jaiku mobile network utility, with the word: “arrested”
Starting with the arrest of Mohamed Adel, the author of Meit blog, who disappeared from November 21, 2008, blogger Zeinobia writes:
By the way I knew some news about blogger Mohamed Adel. According to his father Adel is currently on a food strike. Up till this moment we do not know why Mohamed was detained. Some rumors are saying that it is national security matter concerning Hamas and Gaza !!!?? I do not know what Abd El-Fatah’s charge will be this time !!
Image source: Sarah Carr blog
British journalist and blogger Sarah Carr told her Jaiku network about his arrest. And she also went to the police station where he was being held. She writes a detailed post on what happened on her blog:
A brusque, aggressive man came out, announced himself as head of criminal investigations, told us that Ahmed would indeed be sent to state security and that we should now all bugger off thank you very much. One of the lawyers requested to see Ahmed, “just for a couple of minutes”. The man said no. She repeated her request. “Do you want to argue with me?” he said. Viva the Criminal Procedures Code
When Ahmad was freed, he announced that in a very short post his blog “Yallay!”. It is worth mentioning that an ANHR lawyer attended to the case, a large number of bloggers knew about the story, and many of them showed solidarity and wrote about it.
All this is happening while the family of arrested blogger Mohamed Khairi finally knew of his whereabouts. He is being held at the Wadi El-Natroon prison, under an arrest warrant. Khairi was also arrested in relation to his solidarity with Gaza.
A blogger who writes anonymously in the El-Heshary Blog published a message from Khairi’s mother to “all honest and concerned people” about her son's detention. According to the blog, the mother said:
He is 22 years old..He is very kindhearted.. He has some dreams, he is dreaming of a free world. My son is a student of computer science in Cairo university.. it was the Gaza disaster..he went on with those who decided to go there, with some food, clothes and medication .. some days after his return, he was arrested to for two weeks, and later he as rearrested again..
And it was just a few days ago that a number of journalists, bloggers, NGO volunteers and activists were called for a Bloggers observatory to be established with the goal of protecting Egyptian bloggers and reporting on the violations they may face. That was at the closing of a workshop organized by Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, titled Bloggers and human rights!