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February 22, 2007

Egypt Imprisons Blogger For Insulting Islam

by Doug Mataconis

Yesterday, I wrote about the case of Abdel Kareem Nabil, a college student being held in an Egyptian prison after posting anti-government remarks on his personal blog. Today, an Egyptian judge sentenced him to four years in prison:

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt — An Egyptian blogger was convicted of insulting Islam and President Hosni Mubarak and sentenced to four years in prison on Thursday in Egypt’s first prosecution of a blogger.

Abdel Kareem Nabil, a 22-year-old former student at Egypt’s Al-Azhar University, an Islamic institution, had pleaded innocent to all charges, and human rights groups had called for his release.

Nabil, who used the blogger name Kareem Amer, had sharply criticized Al-Azhar on his Web log, calling it “the university of terrorism” and accusing it of suppressing free thought. He also often criticized Mubarak’s regime on the blog.

In one post, he said Al-Azhar University “stuffs its students’ brains and turns them into human beasts … teaching them that there is not place for differences in this life.”

He was a vocal critic of conservative Muslims and in other posts described Mubarak’s regime as a “symbol of dictatorship.”

The university threw him out last year and pressed prosecutors to put him on trial.

The judge issued the verdict in a brief, five-minute session in a court in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria. He sentenced Nabil to three years in prison for insulting Islam and inciting sedition and another year for insulting Mubarak. Nabil had faced a possible maximum sentence of up to nine years in prison.

Keep in mind. An American ally and supposed example of moderate Islam.  And what has the Bush Administration had to say about this travesty ? So far, nothing:

The Bush administration has not commented on Nabil’s trial, despite its past criticism of the arrests of Egyptian rights activists.

We’re waiting Mr. President.

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