This update is driven from Wa7damasrya blog
(Arabic) who attended detained Egyptian blogger Abdelkareem Nabil Soliman Amer's trial in Alexandria last Thursday. I m writing the heads-up in English for a better reach out. The update is followed by response from human rights organizations like RSF and U.S. Congress.
Thursday, January 25, 2007 was the trial session of Egyptian Blogger Kareem Amer who is accused of insulting Islam among other accusations that level to disrupting public state security and insulting the President.
Some Egyptian and foreign journalists as well as bloggers were there to attend the court session. Egyptian bloggers included wa7damasrya, Benhawy
. Journalists were from the daily Egyptian Al Masry Al Youm
, Reuters and other press outlets.
Lawyers attending on behalf of Kareem were from Hisham Mubarak Center, on top of which was Mr. Ahmed Seif. He was the first to come to court. Mr. Seif is known to be among top lawyers in the field of defending human rights in Egypt.
Television stations were not allowed to film inside the court hall. Video cameras were not allowed as well. A crew from Dream TV channel was there and could not film the trial.
Kareem was not seen entering the building as he was given access to the trial through the garage and from there to the dock.
The trial started at noon. The judge was surprised to find a big number of interested people in Kareem's trial. The session started with Mr. Ahmed Seif's defense. He pleaded that there are no regulations or laws for internet publications or blogging in Egypt that justify the trial. He confirmed that the Egyptian laws have no say on blogging. He also requested delegating a professor from the faculty of engineering from Alexandria University to identify the venue and the owner of Elaph site. This is the site from which the prosecution printed Kareem's articles. If it was proved that the site has a non-Egyptian domain or server, Kareem cannot be charged in Egypt for that.
Following the lawyers' defense, a man stood up to say he is filing a lawsuit against Kareem. The lawsuit is called "Hessba" in Islamic Jurisdiction. The "Hessba" lawsuits are (voluntary) soliciting good and advising against evil in Islam.
The man was so emotional. He spoke in a loud voice. He introduced himself as a lawyer. He said he came to stand by Islam for its victory. He recited some parts of Quaran about those who fight against Allah and his profit Mohamed who should have their hands and legs cut. He meant Kareem.
The session was adjourned to February 1, 2007 to decide on delegating
a professor from Alexandria University to check Elaph's server or not.
If Kareem is acquitted from all charges, "Al Hessba" lawsuit will be complicating things for Kareem and he might be sentenced to three years in prison just only for this "Al Hessba".
Kareem looked self-composed in the dock. His jailers stood in front of him. Kareem was hardly seen as a result.