Last Updated: Monday, 22 December 2014, 21:54 GMT

Annual Prison Census 2009: Egypt

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date 8 December 2009
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, Annual Prison Census 2009: Egypt, 8 December 2009, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4b220ca128.html [accessed 23 December 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Journalists in prison as of December 1, 2009

Egypt: 3

Abdel Karim Suleiman (Karim Amer), freelance
Imprisoned: November 7, 2006

Suleiman, known online as Karim Amer, was arrested on the orders of the prosecutor general's office in the northern city of Alexandria in connection with his critical online writings. In February 2007, a criminal court in Alexandria found him guilty of insulting Islam and President Hosni Mubarak. He was sentenced to a four-year jail term, making him the first Egyptian blogger to be sentenced explicitly for his work.

Suleiman had been a student at Cairo's Al-Azhar University. He was expelled in 2006 because he frequently criticized the state-run religious university, which he accused of promoting extremist ideas, and Mubarak, whom he referred to as a dictator.

Mosad Suleiman (Mosad Abu Fagr), freelance
Imprisoned: December 26, 2007

Suleiman, known online as Mosad Abu Fagr, wrote about social and political issues affecting the Bedouin community in Sinai on his blog, Wedna N'ish (We Want to Live). He is also a novelist and social activist. He was arrested at his home in Ismailiyya following demonstrations in Sinai to protest the razing of homes on Egypt's border with the Gaza Strip, according to local and international human rights reports.

Accused under the Emergency Law of such wide-ranging offenses as inciting riots and driving without a license, Suleiman was acquitted in February 2008 but not released. At least 13 judicial orders have been issued directing that the journalist be released. Because the Interior Ministry cannot violate the court orders outright, it has instead used the Emergency Law to circumvent them.

Immediately after each order of release – but before Suleiman left prison – the ministry issued a new administrative order directing his continued detention. The provisions of the Emergency Law are such that the government can use the strategy an unlimited number of times. Suleiman has waged at least one hunger strike to protest mistreatment in prison, according to the Hisham Mubarak Law Center.

Hani Nazeer Aziz, freelance
Imprisoned: October 3, 2008

Aziz, 28, a blogger, wrote a number of pieces criticizing the state security apparatus and local religious officials. He also wrote about social, political, and Coptic minority issues. After he posted a link to a novel considered offensive to Islam, police arrested him on suspicion that he was actually the book's anonymous author.

Although it became clear that Aziz was not the novel's author, authorities continued to hold him because of his journalism, according to his attorneys at the legal aid unit of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information. His lawyers were prevented from visiting Aziz on multiple occasions, most recently in July. Despite three judicial orders for his release, Aziz remained in custody in late year under the country's Emergency Law. His lawyers said he was mistreated in prison and was pressured to convert to Islam. All of the material on Aziz's blog was deleted by an unidentified party.

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