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Blogging in Egypt

Heavy handed Egyptian authorities jail bloggers

22nd September

Update: Free Michael Nabil...

Jailed Egyptian blogger continues his hunger strike protesting against military tribunals being used to jail civilians

Dr. Michael Nabil Sanad, the 26-year-old blogger jailed by an Egyptian military court, could die soon in prison, says his family and human rights groups.

Reporters Without Borders (RWB) called on the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to immediately release Michael. According to RWB If he does not resume drinking, he could very soon die in detention and SCAF would have to take full responsibility.

After visiting his brother today at El-Marg prison, Mark Sanad said Michael's health, after 28-days of a hunger strike, has become critical. He is unable to leave bed. When he stands up he loses his vision. He has lost 12 KG and weighs 48 KG now.

Blogger Michael Sanad went on hunger strike to protest his prison sentence, as well as his anger that other bloggers who were in his situation, such as Asma Mahfouz and Loay Najati, were pardoned by the military council. He was to three-years in prison sentence by a military court on April 10, for entries on his blog criticizing the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). He was accused of insulting the military establishment and spreading false information about it. However, according to SCAF press release number 68, military trials are limited to crimes of rape, thuggery and assaulting security personnel.

On Monday, September 19, Michael's supporters held a march from Tahrir Square to the Council of Ministers calling for his freedom and demanding an end to military trials of civilians.

Mark Sanad said that Michael is refusing to go into the prison infirmary because prison authorities refuse to state the reason for his hunger, thirst and medications strike in their reports. Mark also said the authorities are pressuring Michael to call off his strike as this is damaging the image of a respected Egyptian symbol (SCAF).

According to the letter sent by Michael and published on his official campaign page on facebook Free Michael Nabil which has 23,000 members, he exposed the prison authorities of lying to his visitors including his family that he does not wish to see them while I would have loved to see them and needed their visits, he wrote.

Mark Sanad said that his brother's appeal is scheduled for October 4, this would be the 42nd day in Michael's hunger strike. But Michael will not live until then.

Nabil Sanad, Michael's father, who has sent seven appeals to SCAF to pardon his son, without a single reply, said should his son die, it would be a crime against humanity. I will hold the prison authorities, the interior minister and SCAF responsible for his death. I will file a case in the Egyptian Courts and if I get no justice, I will take them to the International Court of Justice.

Update: Freed

17th February 2012. See  article from

Reporters Without Borders welcomes blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad's release late yesterday under an amnesty announced on 21 January for around 2,000 civilians who had been convicted by military courts during the past year. Sanad, who had been detained for 10 months on a charge of insulting the armed forces, was freed from Cairo's Tora prison.

The release of Sanad, the post-Mubarak era's first prisoner of conscience, is wonderful news for both his family and for all those who campaigned on his behalf, Reporters Without Borders said: His release is timely, coming on the eve of the Egyptian revolution's first anniversary. His only crime was to exercise the fundamental right to free expression, a right often flouted by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces since the revolution.

The justice system must now overturn his conviction and declare him innocent. The relevant authorities must also be held accountable for his mistreatment and the harassment of his relatives. We will continue to monitor the situation in Egypt closely. On this very symbolic date, 25 January, we urge the authorities to stop using violence and judicial abuse to suppress all forms of criticism and to end the repeated arrests, interrogations and harassment of bloggers, netizens and journalists who criticize the Supreme Council's record.


12th April

Update: My Tongue is My Pen...

Egyptian blogger missing after arrest for supporting strike

Although he was released by the Public Prosecutor, Egyptian blogger Abdel Rahman Fares is still missing. Fares who blogs at Lesani Howa Qalami (My Tongue is My Pen) was arrested on April 5, while handing out flyers in his city of Fayoum, calling people to take to the streets and protest against the government, as a part of the 6th April strike.

The young blogger was charged with handing out literature promoting the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood and for calling for strikes. Besides, he is recognised as a Muslim brotherhood blogger, which means he is member of an outlawed group.

A friend of Fares wrote in his blog that he was released last night, but nobody knows his whereabouts. Recently, Fares told the readers of his blog, that he was summoned to the State Security headquarters:

I donít know whether the both incident are related! I was summoned to State Security office and ordered to be their on 1st April. Right after that, I had a chat with someone I donít know on Facebook, he commented on my status, then chatted with me, describing me and the supporters of 6th April strike as rioters. And he told me Ďdonít regret when you are punished!

Update: No Release

14th April 2009. See article from

Next Tuesday will mark one week since the eighth release order has been made for Egyptian blogger Mos'ad Suleiman Hassan (a.k.a. Mos'ad Abu Fagr); Despite that fact, Fagr remains locked at a police station in El Arish (North Sinai).

Fagr, a Sinai activist and novelist has a blog called Wedna Ne3eesh (We Want to Live), where he writes about the demands and life of the Bedouins of Sinai, as well as the citizenship rights they seek.

Update: Re-Detained

26th April 2009. See article from

In an unexplained action, Egyptian Ministry of Interior issued a new detention order for blogger and activist, Mos'ad Abu Fagr. The detained blogger was transferred again to Borg El Arab prison in Alexandria instead of north Sinai prison. This transfer imposes hardship on Abu Fagr's family to visit him, as they are based is the Sinai.

Abu Fagr was arrested on 26 December 2007, but the court and D.A issued eight order of release to him, even though he was kept behind bars.

Update: Comic Accusation

19th May 2009.  See article from

After being detained for 15 days under investigation, the Egyptian blogger Ahmed Mohsen is to still imprisoned, as he is accused of Exploiting the democratic climate to overthrow the government

Mohsen was arrested on April 29th, 2009, after a State Security force broke into his house and searched it. As Mohsen was already moved to Upper Egypt, a police officer summoned him to the prosecution office in Fayoum.

The Arabic Network for Human Rights (ANHRI), described the accusation as a Ďcomic' one, stating: It is normal for a State Security officer to tell lies, but when the Public Prosecution believes this lie and approves to imprison a young blogger for exploitation of the democratic climate, this is black comedy, what democracy did this young man exploit

Update: Warned Off

29th September 2009.  Based on article from

The Egyptian blogger Abdel Rahman Fares was summoned to State Security headquarters, where he was blamed for his online writings. Fares was warned that he would be arrested if he goes on blogging, and asked to give up both his online and offline activities.

Fares is blogging at Lesani Howa Qalami (My Tongue is My Pen). On Friday, 25 September, 2009, he received a phone call from States Security, and was asked several questions related to his blogging, then summoned to State Security office in Fayoum (North of Cairo) where Fares is living.

Update: Warned Off

28th October 2009.  Based on article from

Two separate orders were issued last week to prolong the detention of two Egyptian bloggers. The first is yet another arrest order for Mus'ad Abu Fagr, who has been arrested since December 2008. Abu Fagr had a number of court decisions allowing his release, but unfortunately each one of them was followed by a new arrest order! The blogger is also transferred from Al- Arish police station, in his neighborhood, to Borg El-Arab prison in Alexandria, which make it difficult for his family to visit him.


12th February

Update: Bloggers Banged Up...

Egypt arrests bloggers carrying news from Gaza

Egyptian authorities released the German-Egyptian blogger Philippe Rizk, after being held blind-fold for five days in an unknown place and subjected to all kinds of mental abuse.

In an interview with The Arabic Network for Human Rights (ANHRI) Rizk described what he went through:

I was repeatedly questioned about everything and I was terrified. Although I was not abused physically, I was blind-folded all the time. Officers kept saying to me, and I was threatened with long term imprisonment. They asked me if I supported Hamas, was working for Israel, and, being Christian, if I was an evangelist. I was never informed of any charges against me

The young blogger launched a webpage exclusively on Gaza before his detention, and he was preparing a documentary on the protests in Egypt against the Israeli war.

The police had carried out a raid on Rizk's house, searching it and demanding Rizk's father accompany them to his office. Plus confiscating three digital cameras, one video camera, a mobile phone, an IPod, thirty CDs and DVDs, a number of books and reference papers, personal documents, sixty camera films, a laptop case, a large travel bag, three hard drives and a handbag containing personal effects, according to Rizk.

Egyptian blogsphere was relieved to hear the release of Philippe, the story was circulated through Facebook and jaiku messages. A night before he get out of detention, tens of activists and bloggers staged a protest seeking freedom for him, also created a blog for the same goal and his colleagues are circulating updates on his arrest.

Another Egyptian blogger was also recemtly arrested. Central security forces broke into Diaa Eddin Gad, the owner of Sawt Ghadib blog (An Angry Voice). So far, the police did not reveal the reason behind his arrest or where he was being detained.

Bloggers have become a major target of the police authorities in Egypt and all these assaults are committed outside the law or under the cloak of the emergency state, the Cairo-based Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI ) said in a statement.

Update: Blogged Up in Prison

7th March 2009. See article from

An Egypt Facebook activist was abducted by Police soliders, who attacked his home at 3:30am, shortly before the break of dawn. Rami El- Swaisi, 21, was taken to an unknown place since 2 days, when Officers and armed police soldiers broke into the home in Giza and took some of his personal property including his cell phone, laptop, and wallet.

Rami al-Swisi studies in a language institute and is an activist in the 6th of April youth movement. He has a Facebook account called Mahtag Akoud Hakky (I need my rights back!) where he practices his online activism.

Ahmed Maher, an activist with the 6th of April movement, told The Arabic Network for Human Rights that Rami received calls from state security officers demanding him to appear in front of them. When he refused, he was threatened several times in an attempt to pressure him into leaving the 6th of April movement.

Update: Mentally and physically abused

10th March 2009. See article from

A report was submitted to the Egyptian General Prosecutor claiming that the detained blogger Ahmed Abou Doma was subjected to torture. According to the report, the young blogger, was subjected to mental and physical torture. Torture in Egypt web advocacy stated from Doma's lawyers that: The detained blogger was mentally and physically abused in Al-Khalifa police station, while being transferred to prison. He was beaten up by sticks and his body was standing in a harmful posture for long hours.

Ahmed Abou Doma was arrested on his return from the Gaza Strip through the Rafah Border Crossing. The Egyptian authorities accused him of infiltrating across the eastern border illegally in violation of the presidential decree 298 of 1995. Last month, Doma was sentenced in a Military Court in Ismailia city in Egypt to one year and the fine of 2000 pounds.

Ahmed Abou Doma runs a blog called Sha'er ikhwan (Ikwani Poet), where he writes his poems and texts, expressing his political views. He published on this blog the photos he took in Gaza during the visit, which lead him to jail. After his arrest, the blog has been updated by his friends.

Update: Tortured

15th March 2009. See article from

Two bloggers were separately tortured in Egyptian State Security headquarters. One of them is now released, while the other has been receiving treatment in prison.

maeitblogger Mohamed Adel told an independent local newspaper that he was subjected to torture by the State security agents during the first 17 days of his detention.
Al-Dostour newspaper, quoted Adel who was released on 10 March:

torture included whipping and suspension and electric shocks, Mohamed Adel said that each time there were doctors who came to treat the torture trace on his body to hide it


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