The Internet In the Arab World
A New Space of Repression?
No Rules, No Limits
United Arab Emirates:
Freedom of expression is missing despite a decision banning imprisonment for press crimes
Except Ayman Nour: The Egyptian interior ministry cracks down against prisoners of opinion by using the emergency law and allocates f Burg Al Arab prison for them
Cairo, April 26, 2008
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information stated today that all prisoners of opinion are detained in Burg Al Arab prison except Dr. Ayman Nour who is detained in Mazra'at Tura prison. Three of the opinion prisoners out of five are arrested according to the emergency law. The three are Ali Abdul Fattah, director of the Egyptian media center, Mos'ad Abu Fagr, a novelist and a blogger and an activist in "wedna na'ish" (we wanna live) movement and Karim Al Behairy, a labor historian and blogger who was recently detained due to the strike called for by internet activists and democratic movements. The three prisoners are detained in Burg Al Arab detention camp located in Alexandria desert.
The remaining two prisoners are the secular blogger Karim Amir, sentenced to four years in prison, and detained in Burg Al Arab, and Dr. Ayman Nour, sentenced to five years in prison, and detained in Mazra'at Tura prison south Cairo.
Is it a coincidence that all opinion prisoners are detained in Burg Al Arab prison? This prison is in a remote area, Alexandria desert, while the detainees are from different places according to their accommodations. This makes us say that detaining opinion prisoners in such a remote prison away from the detainees' accommodation areas is a sign that the interior ministry is cracking down against opinion prisoners in Egypt.
Next May will witness three important events; the world day for press freedom on May 3, a strike called for by internet activists and democratic movements on May 4 the president birthday date, and the termination of emergency law activation period on May 27.
Mr. Gamal Eid, the executive director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information said, "We hope that the Egyptian government will not extend the emergency law activation period next May". "To terminate the emergency law activation period means that the opinion prisoners will be released, and also means that the president will issue a decree to release both Ayman Nour and Karim Amir. After 27 years, Egypt is to be without emergency law and without opinion prisoners", added Gamal Eid.