Cairo – 11 November 2006
The Public Prosecutor Office of Alexandria re-detained the Egyptian blogger Kareem Amer for additional 15 days on Wednesday 8 November. This is considered a violation of his right to hold opinions without interference, which is stipulated in the Egyptian constitution and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Egypt is a state-party.
“The arbitrary accusations against Kareem Amer indicate the authorities’ inclination to detain Kareem simply for expressing views contradictory to theirs. The Public Prosecutor told Kareem that if he did not abandon his views, even though personal, he may be imprisoned,” the undersigned human rights organizations stated.
The case of Amer is eventually testing the extent of respect granted by the Egyptian government to the right to freedom of expression, the Egyptian Constitution, and other international covenants which that right.
Kareem Amer deserves encouragement and support for risking his freedom for the sake of upholding his right to believe in secularism. His insistence on his right to freedom of expression had previously resulted in his expulsion from Al-Azhar University. The right to freedom of thought and expression is a basic human right that should not be undermined. Article 18 and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 10, 1948, states:
Article 18: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change religion or belief, the freedom to manifest religion or belief in worship, observance, practice, and teaching either alone or in community with others and in public or private.”
Article 19: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
The undersigned human rights organizations call upon the Egyptian government to immediately release Kareem Amer, protect him against more harassment, and guarantee his right to freedom of expression.
1. The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information
2. The Egyptian Association for Community Participation Enhancement
3. The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights
4. Association for Human Rights Legal Aid
5. Habi Center for Environmental Rights
6. Al-Nadeem Center for Psychological Rehabilitation and Treatment of Victims of Violence
7. Hisham Mubark Law Center
8. Land Center for Human Rights
9. Shomuu Assocaition for Human Rights and People with Disabilities
10. Egyptian Center for Human Rights
11. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
12. The Civil Observatory of Human Rights
13. Al-Ganob Center for Human Rights
14. Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights