I’m sorry I’m at least a month late on this, but though I don’t have much to add concerning the case of Egyptian blogger Abdel Kareem Nabil, who operated under the alias in the title of this post, I just want to add to the voices calling for his release.
I understand that his imprisonment is somewhat of a cultural issue, and Amer had been arrested previously and was warned against speaking out (as stated in the Wikipedia article), but to me, that does not detract from the fact that this, first and foremost, is a human rights issue.
There have been all kinds of moments throughout history when silence was chosen at the expense of voiced dissent, and innocent people have suffered and even died as a result. This could be one of them (and as I read the Woodward book about Iraq, I’m discovering more moments when Dubya’s loyalists chose to tow the line instead of tell the truth, and the human cost of this folly is almost too horrific to even try to calculate).
Kareem Amer insulted Islam and criticized Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, according to the charges. I don’t know if these were wise courses of action or not, but I don’t think anyone should be forced to size up the ramifications of doing this in their heads before they decide to exercise free speech (and I don’t think they should be imprisoned for speaking out either). As a result, though, he is rotting in jail.
Amnesty International has launched a campaign in support of free speech on the Internet, and to learn more about it, you can read about it in the Guardian story (or you can find out how to help free Kareem Amer here).
I don’t know whether or not our voices can persuade the authorities in Egypt to free Kareem Amer or not, but the minute we decide to shut our mouths in the face of such repression is the day that we hasten the arrival of a similar fate for ourselves.