Stories about Middle East & North Africa from October, 2011
Egypt’s veteran blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah (@alaa) was detained today (Sunday, Oct. 30) for 15 days pending investigation after refusing to be interrogated by a military investigator, insisting on his right to be tried before a civil court. Alaa was called in for investigation last week in light of the...
Since the street protest movement began in March 2011 in Syria, threats and physical attacks against journalists have increased. The list of detained bloggers and journalists gets longer and includes foreign journalists arrested and deported. Among the latest, prominent blogger and programmer Hussein Ghrer, who disappeared on October 24.
In the wake of the fall of Tripoli, reporters, researchers, and former employees of the Libyan Telecom and Technology company have been uncovering and sharing details about how the Libyan government surveilled and monitored internet and phone networks.
Alaa Abd El Fattah, a well-known Egyptian blogger and activist who was imprisoned in 2006 under the Mubarak regime, learned on Monday that he has been summoned by a military prosecutor. He joins a growing list of Egyptian activists targeted by the military.
Syrian blogger Hussein Ghrer left his home in Damascus on Monday, October 24, and has not come back. He is a thirty-year-old married father of two. The most recent post on Ghrer's blog focuses on the arrest earlier this year of now-released Syrian blogger Anas Maarawi in the context of freedom in Syria.
At the Third Arab Bloggers Meeting in Tunis earlier this month, Moez Chakchouk, Chairman and CEO of the Tunisian Internet Agency, gave an amazing presentation in which he revealed that under Ben Ali, his agency had secretly tested censorship and surveillance software for Western companies. He wants to turn his agency into a transparent and neutral Internet exchange point. But whether he will succeed depends in part on the outcome of the October 23rd Constituent Assembly elections, and Tunisia's unfolding political process over the coming year.
In the context of repression in the Middle East and North Africa, surveillance technology has played a key role in providing authoritarian regimes with the tools necessary to track citizens online. Among these companies, BlueCoat has proved to be the most efficient in helping the Syrian regime control every movement of Syrians on the Internet.
An online petition is the only common factor between five detained activists in the United Arab Emirates. Ahmed Mansour, Nasser Bin Ghaith, Fahad Al-Sihhi, Hassan Ali Al Khamis, and Ahmed Abdulhaleq Ahmed are the names. Mansour is a well known blogger and an outspoken activist who is believed to have Muslim Brotherhood ties, while Bin Ghaith comes from a wealthy family and has served as a consultant for the army beside being a war veteran, a decorated pilot, a columnist, and a lecturer.