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Cairo On 26/8/2009

The Arabic Network for Human rights Information, ANHRI, stated that the minister of Interior should open an immediate and transparent investigation regarding the claims of disappearing computers that the security authorities confiscate from citizens and bloggers. The phenomenon reached Cairo airport where officers confiscated the laptop of Wael Abbas , the well known blogger, on 30/6/2009 to be reviewed by the general censor authority. The laptop disappeared since then.

ANHRI has monitored the seizure of computers of citizens and bloggers upon their detention , whether they were legally arrested or kidnapped. A turning point in this mystery was the incident of capturing of the laptop of Wael Abbas , owner of the blog, Al Waay AlMasry, http://misrdigital.blogspirit.com , at Cairo airport where he was illegally stopped without a prosecution permit or a court order on 30/6/2009.

For two months , Wael’s lawyers at ANHRI were continuously making queries about the missing laptop as well as filing communiqués to the prosecution that took no action, till they were surprisingly informed by a government official that “You will have to forget about this laptop , most probably it is now in a police officer’s house!!”

This casts shadows on officers integrity, an accusation toward which the minister has to react and investigate especially when it is not the first incident of its kind; Mohamed Khairy , owner of the blog Gar Shakal , http://garshkal.blogspot.com , was arrested and his laptop was seized on 22/10/2008 and he never got it back. The blogger Khalifa Ebeid , owner of the blog Ana Mathun, http://omarheteta.blogspot.com, was arrested on the same day , his desktop was captured and it was never seen again.

ANHRI stated that , ” Illegal seizure of personal belongings is a theft crime. Legally , there must be a court order for seizing personal belongings and the seizing must pertain to a certain investigation. After release or acquittal , those possessions must be returned to their owners which is very untrue regarding what happened to the three bloggers . The minister of interior has a duty to open an urgent investigation and disclose its outcome before voices become louder and louder saying the minister covers on corruption suspicions.