Abdelkareem Nabil Soliman (Kareem Amer)
Status: Political prisoner
Abdelkareem Nabil Soliman, who goes by the name Kareem Amer, is a 22-year old blogger from Egypt. At the beginning of 2006, he was expelled from Al Azhar University because he publicly condemned the "religious and authoritarian excesses" of the Egyptian government under Hosni Mubarak and made other critical remarks about Islam.
After his expulsion, he was arrested in his Alexandria home by Egyptian police on November 6, 2006. According to Reporters Sans Frontieres, Amer was accused of "spreading rumours endangering public security" and "defamation of President Mubarak." He has not been allowed to see family or a lawyer since.
This is the second time Amer has been arrested. In 2005, he was arrested and held for 13 days for posts on his blog. Since his November 2006 arrest, his detention has been renewed at least five times contrary to Egyptian law. Most recently, High State Security Prosecution decided on December 18, 2006 to hold Amer in custody for another 45 days to delay trial.
An initial hearing took place on January the 25th, 2007. According to Dalia Ziada, an Egyptian blogger and human rights activist working on Kareem's case, the trial is adjourned to the 1st of February, 2007. The adjournment came as a response to a request from Kareem's lawyers to have the court supply a telecommunications expert who could determine the location of the server on which Kareem's articles were posted. It is thought that the reason to make this request was to show that because the servers were located in a country outside of Egypt, that the Egyptian court system did not have jurisdiction over the case.
At the February 1st, 2007 hearing, Ms Ziada reported that Amer was once again brought to court. The judge once again did not issue a ruling or provide an expert; instead he adjourned the court date to February 22nd and announced that on that day he would make an announcement both regarding his decision on bringing an expert, and as well as a verdict. This is believed to mean that he will deny the defense's request for an expert and find Amer guilty of offenses to religion.
On February 21, 2007, Kareem was sentenced to 4 years in prison: three years for contempt of religion, and a fourth year for defaming the president.
Please help spread awareness regarding the plight of Kareem Amer by making an effort to call and send letters to the contacts below, pressuring them to call for Amer's release.
If you operate a blog or website, please consider using the photograph below (from freekareem.org) as a banner, a user icon, or a photograph of yourself to show your support for Mr. Soliman's freedom.
- Free Kareem! - Kareem's Official Campaign Online
- Judge says verdict in blogger's trial will be given on 22 February - [Reporters Sans Frontieres]
- Egypt Annual Report 2007 - [Reporters Sans Frontieres]
- Egyptian Fear in the Blogosphere - [The Guardian]
- Blogger Kareem Amer Held in custody for a further 2 weeks - [Reporters Sans Frontieres]
- Prosecutors decide to hold blogger for another 45 days - [Reporters Sans Frontieres]
- Jailed for Blogging - [International Herald Tribune]
- Prisoner of His Words - [Pajamas Media]
- Interfaith Blogger Network Calls for Release of Imprisoned Egyptian Blogger - [ME Faith]
- Bipartisan letter from Congress to Egypt Ambassador on Kareem - [Free Kareem]
- Egyptian court refuses to release on bail a blogger accused of insulting Islam - [ABC 2 News]