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Cairo, 6/3/2010

Egyptian human rights organizations signatories to this appeal call on the Egyptian government to conclude the court martial of the young blogger Ahmed Mostafa and to drop all charges against him on the background of a post on his blog dating back to 2009. The organizations below signing request the immediate release of Mostafa and call on the Egyptian government to resort to more democratic measures based on dialogue and transparent debate, rather than spreading fear among young people and bloggers who have shown one and many times concern about public interest, and no intentional abuse or defamation of anybody.

Ahmed Mustafa ,20 years, is court martialed because of an article published on his blog in February 2009, where he reported and criticized the expulsion of a student from the military academy. The third hearing is held in Cairo on 7/3/2010 despite the blogger being a civilian and despite the harassments practiced against the defense team.

The human rights organizations signatories to this appeal said, “The Egyptian government, instead of committing to the presidential promise made five years ago to abolish prison sentences in publication cases, the government conducts a court martial to a young blogger, despite all our reservations on such trials, which lack basics of fairness and justice”.

It is to be noted that many Egyptian young people and bloggers have not found but blogging and internet forums as means to express criticism and refusal of many governmental practices in return to official indifference to all their criticism. Security harassments and intimidation hit no success in silencing them. The Egyptian government never decided on dialogue and debate with those young people who insist on their right for a democratic society, instead the government headed on for more aggression and repression, manifesting in bloggers’ abductions, torture, and detention under emergency law and lastly , the crackdown escalated to military trials.

The Egyptian human rights organizations stated, “There is no turning back and the Egyptian government should have known by now that emergency and military trials are useless in gagging and silencing critical voices. By experience , the government is the first and only loser in the struggle between repression and freedom of expression”.

The undersigned organizations:

* The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information
* Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
* Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression
* Andalus Istitute for Tolerance and anti- Violence Studies
* The Egyptian Association for Community Participation Enhancement
* Human Rights Legal Aid Group
* AlNadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence
* The Egyptian Association Against Torture
* The Arabic Program for Human Rights Activists
* Civil Observatory for Human Rights
* Hisham Mubarak Law Center
* Journalists Without Rights
* Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights