Free Kareem Amer
The Egyptian Ambassador to the United States Mohamed Nabil Ismail Fahmy, The Egyptian Interior Minister Habib Ibrahim El Adly, The Governor of Alexandria General Adel Ali Labib, The United States Ambassador to Egypt Francis J. Ricciardone Jr., The United
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As you are probably aware, Mr. Amer has been arrested twice, and is currently detained and charged with spreading information and malicious rumors that disrupt public security, defaming the president of Egypt, incitement to overthrow the regime based upon hatred and contempt, incitement to hate Islam and to breach public peace standards, and highlighting inappropriate issues that harm the reputation of Egypt and spreading these publicly.
The interrogation process has allegedly involved certain irregularities by the Public Prosecutor's Office, according to the human rights lawyer of The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information who represented Kareem Amer before the Prosecutor. The observed irregularities include the illegal attendance of three interrogators, their laughing at Kareem Amer while interrogating him, and their addressing unwarranted questions to him, such as Do you fast during Ramadan?, and Do you practice prayer?.
The Public Prosecutor informed Kareem Amer that if he did not abandon his views, even though personal, he may be imprisoned. Nevertheless, Mr. Amer insisted on his right to freedom of expression, and was consequently detained pending investigation. His detention was renewed four times before his trial opened in an Alexandria court in January 25, 2007. The trial was adjourned to February 1, 2007, during which the judge is expected to rule on the case.
Mr. Amer's detention is considered a violation of his right to hold opinions without interference, which is stipulated in the Egyptian constitution.
Moreover, Egypt has been a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) since 1982. Article 19 of the ICCPR states that:
Article 19 (1): Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.
Article 19 (2): Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.
Furthermore, Articles 18 and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR), adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1948, state that:
Article 18: "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change religion or belief, the freedom to manifest religion or belief in worship, observance, practice, and teaching either alone or in community with others and in public or private."
Article 19: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."
Because the rights to freedom of thought and freedom of expression are basic human rights that should never be undermined, and in light of the aforementioned international law articles:
We, the undersigned individuals, call upon the Egyptian government to honor its commitments to the ICCPR and the UNDHR;
We appeal to the Egyptian government to immediately drop charges against Kareem Amer for his personal online writings;
We urge the Egyptian government to release Kareem Amer without delay, protect him against more harassment, and guarantee his right to freedom of expression; and
We appeal to the Egyptian government to amend Egyptian laws that contradict the individuals right to free expression under international law.