On November 11th, 2009, prominent Egyptian blogger Wael Abbas has been sentenced in absentia to 6 months in jail and LE 500 pounds (92 USD) as a judiciary bail, as a lawsuit was filed against him by a citizen and his police officer brother on charges of damaging an internet cable. In his statement following the case, Wael Abbas, clarified that the man who sued him was responsible of another violation against him.
In this interview with Wael Abbas, we will learn more about the case and what activists can do to support him:
Noha:Are you already in jail, or expected to be taken to a prison?
Wael: No, I'm not in jail at the moment, but this might happen after the session of 18th of february.
Noha:Do you know where you will serve the sentence, which prison?!
Wael: No I don't which prison are they going to take me. I'm not sure about that.
Noha: Did you appeal the sentence?
Wael: Yes I did peal the sentence.
Noha:Do you think this sentence have something to do with your blogging activities?
Wael: Well, in the beginning I didn't think that it had anything to do with my blogging. But since my first case was held, a case in which I accused the officer of attacking me at home and breaking my tooth, since it was held and I was sentenced in absentia, I'm sure that there is something fishy behind it.
Noha:How people can show solidarity with you?
Wael: I don't know, it's up to the people. but spreading he word and exposing that this is unjust or this might be motivated by security, government retaliation or something, ..this might help. Because it's totally unjust. I'm accused of something that I didn't do and I'm getting the maximum punishment which is usually given to somebody who tore down a factory or destroyed a farm or tore down a house. And I'm accused of cutting cable, so you go figure! Tank you.
As usual with these cases much of what needs to be done is in courts, what you can do at the moment is the usual:
- Contact your embassies in Cairo, pressure them to officially inquire and show concern. Make it clear that you believe strongly this is a political case and not a criminal one.
- Contact the egyptian embassy in your country and ask yourself about wael. again make it clear you are not buying the official story.
- Contact local and international media and journalists, ask them to cover the story. wael is well known and has been interviewed many times but this particular threat is being ignored. explain to them that wael is not the only blogger or activist facing covert prosecution through trumped up criminal charges.
- Contact NGOs and even governmental agencies concerned with human rights, freedom of expression, press freedom, digital liberties, protecting human rights defenders. make sure they know about the case and understand the threats.
You should also try and learn more about the situation in egypt, wael is being punished for exposing the truth, by knowing and spreading this
truth you make sure he doesn't take these risks for nothing.