Our nations have a relationship that is strong and warm. Our people share the bonds of friendship, a commitment to prosperity and peace and regional stability. Egypt is a strategic partner of the United States and we value President Mubarak's years of effort on behalf of the peace and stability of the Middle East.
The Egyptian government today for the first time sentenced a blogger to prison for his writings, threatening a window of free speech that has emerged on the Internet, Human Rights Watch said today.
A court in Alexandria this morning convicted and sentenced `Abd al-Karim Nabil Sulaiman, to four years in prison on charges of insulting Islam, defaming the president, and “spreading information disruptive of the public order.” According to reporters who attended the hearing, Judge Ayman al-Akazi issued the verdict in a brief five minute session.
Sulaiman, a 22-year-old former student of Islamic jurisprudence at Al-Azhar University, is better known by his pen name, Karim Amer. Following a complaint filed by the university, Sulaiman appeared before a public prosecutor on November 7 to answer charges related to items he wrote on his blog criticizing Islam, the authorities at Al-Azhar and President Hosni Mubarak. Prosecutors ordered him detained pending investigation and renewed his detention four times before his trial opened at Muharram Bek Court in Alexandria on January 25.
Plainclothes officers had previously arrested Sulaiman at his home on October 26, 2005, four days after he criticized Muslim rioters and Islam in a blog post about sectarian clashes in his neighborhood. Authorities held him for 12 days after this first arrest and released him without charge.
Anyone else think we’re doomed if Egypt is our friend and partner in the quest for stability and peace in the Middle East?
Take a moment and e-mail President Bush. Tell him to tell his friends in the Egyptian government to release `Abd al-Karim Nabil Sulaiman.