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Egyptian Blogger Jailed For Blogging

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In support of our international blogging brothers...

On February 22, Kareem Amer, a twenty-two-year old Egyptian student and blogger, was sentenced without a trial to four years in jail for "contempt of religion" and "defaming the President of Egypt" because of writings on his blog.

Growing up in a fundamentalist Muslim family, Amer began to rebel against what he perceived as religious extremism at his college, Al-Azhar University, through his blog writings, and was hence expelled for this in late 2005. This past November Kareem was brought in for questioning about his religious beliefs -- and then detained after he refused to recant his writings, many of which condemned acts of violence and spoke to equality for Egyptian women.

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Recently, Kareem was nominated for one of the 7th Annual Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards, which are intended to honor the world’s champions of freedom of expression. In addition, his lawyers have filed an appeal, which will be heard in court on March 12.

Although no official comment was made by the White House or the United States government, Congressmen Barney Frank and Trent Franks wrote a joint letter demanding the young blogger's immediate release. In addition, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Reporters Without Borders have all condemned the arrest and sentence. The Egyptian government has had no official comment on the mounting pressure from these groups and other media outlets.

If all that isn't enough, this past week his family disowned him, and his father has called for applying Sharia (Islamic law) on his son by giving three days to repent, followed by having him killed if he did not announce his repentance.

To help Kareem Amer, or for more information, check out the Free Kareem website.

Photo by Kambiz