Egyptian blogger Kareem Nabeel Sulaiman‘s appeal is expected to be heard by an Alexandria court tomorrow. (March 12)
The Egyptian blogger made history last month by being the first writer in his country to be sentenced to four years in prison for articles he wrote on his blog.
The 22-year-old former Al Azhar University student was charged with defaming Islam and insulting Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. The sentence was criticised by bloggers, writers, human rights activists and campaigners for free speech from all over the world, who demanded his immediate release.
Fellow blogger Freedom for Egyptians posts an article discussing Kareem's ordeal.
“As an Egyptian fellow blogger I stand with Karim, because I will never side with processes meant to terrorize innocent citizens who are exercising their innate right to freedom of expression and because I will never be part of a tribunal of inquisition in the 21st century. Those tribunals judged arbitrarily and without appeal like the current Emergency Laws and military courts applied in Egypt,” she writes.
“During the Middle Ages between the 5th and the 15th centuries, the Catholic Church was not only a religious institution, but also an immensely rich financial establishment that interferes and influences politics in the West. The largest Sunni religious institution in Egypt and the Middle East, Al-Azhar, has the right to give its say in politics and referring people accused of heresy to courts and prisons. If the measure cannot be damaging enough to send people to prisons like Egyptian blogger Abdel Karim, an irreversible Fatwa (religious opinion) can lead an Islamic fanatic or extremist to put an end to a person exercising his freedom of expression by spilling his blood. The Cairo-based religious institution is financed by the government and their employees are civil servants.”
A website developed by a group of Kareem's supporters posted the following:
Outside Abdul Kareem’s court room, many Egyptians were calling for his imprisonment, and extremists went as far as demanding that he be stoned. (Let us not also forget the prosecution lawyer who called for waging a “jihad” on Kareem.)
It is therefore encouraging for the world to see that many Egyptians, Arabs, and Muslims actually do stand up for Kareem’s right to express himself. In fact, we have set up a section dedicated to ‘Arab & Muslim Voices for Kareem’ to prove this.”
More comments on Kareem's case are available on www.freekareem.org