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Egypt: Bloggers Detained .. Again .. and Released

Categories: Middle East & North Africa, Egypt, Breaking News, Digital Activism, Freedom of Speech, Law, Politics, Technology

In what has now become the norm, two prominent Egyptian bloggers, along with a human rights lawyer, were detained in custody today and later released.

Another blogger has also been called by telephone to appear at a police station – which he refused to do unless he received official summons. Citing security reasons, this third blogger contacted GV and asked that all reference to his case be dropped.

The two bloggers were Alaa Abdel Fattah [1] and his wife Manal and the lawyer is Jamal Eid, the director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information [2]. Alaa has previously spent time behind bars [3] for his activism.

Washington DC-based Egyptian blogger Nora Younis announced the developments with alarm [4], saying that authorities are closing in on bloggers and are continuing escalating the stand off between them.

تم استدعاء المدونين علاء ومنال، والمحامي الحقوقي جمال عيد مدير الشبكة العربية لمعلومات حقوق الانسان، للمثول أمام نيابة امبابة وجاري التحقيق معهم الآن بتهمة سب وقذف القاضي عبد الفتاح مراد

عبد الفتاح مراد كان قد رفع قضية ضد الحكومة مطالبا اياها بأغلاق 13 موقع ومدونة على الانترنت من المواقع والمدونات الداعمة للحريات، وحقوق الانسان، والتي كشفت وقائع تعذيب المواطنين في أقسام الشرطة مؤخرا وتقود حملات ضد جلادي وزارة الداخلية، وضد الدولة البوليسية، وتتلقى شكاوى المواطنين، وتقوم بعلاج ضحايا العن

“Bloggers Alaa and Manal have been summoned, along with Arabic Network for Human Rights Information director Jamal Eid, to appear in front of the Public Prosecutor and are now being questioned for insulting Judge Abdel Fattah Murad. Murad had earlier filed a law suit against the government calling for the closing of 13 websites and blogs, which promote freedom and human rights and which have exposed torture being committed against citizens at police stations. The sites have also been active in leading campaigns against the Interior Ministry's tyrants as well as against the police state. The blogs and sites also look into people's complaints and attempt to treat the victims of torture,” explained Younis.

بدأت المهزلة عندما نشر عبد الفتاح مراد كتابا عن المدونات وتهافت فيه على حقوق الملكية الفكرية وحذر من النقل في الوقت الذي نقل هو فيه أكثر من 50 صفحة من تقرير الشبكة العربية لحقوق الانسان

بدلا من الاعتراف بالنقل الحرفي، قام القاضي بقلب الطاولة على المدون

“This farce started when Abdel Fattah Murad published a book on blogging in which he rallied for intellectual property rights and warned against plagiarism at the time he himself had lifted 50 pages from the report prepared by the Arabic Network for Human Rights. Instead of admitting what he did, the judge turned the table against the bloggers,” she added.
ويأتي كل هذا في اطار التصعيد العام للدولة البوليسية -دستوريا- ضد النشطاء سياسيا من المدونين. حتى في حال اخلاء سبيلهم، ان حدث، فلن يكون من المستبعد اعادة مقاضاتهم مرة أخرى بعد التصنت على مكالماتهم وتسجيل مراسلاتهم – وكله وفق الدستور والقانون. فأي شيء يقال الآن على مبارك والحكومة والتعديل الدستوري المزور يقع في اطار سب
“This is all considered as part of the framework of general escalations the police state is using – in line with the Constitution – against bloggers who are politically active. Even if they were released, if that happens, it wouldn't be surprising if they were put on retrial again after tapping their phone calls and recording their correspondence – which is all being done according to the Constitution and the Law. After all, anything that is now uttered against Mubarak, the Government and the forged Constitutional amendments fall within the category of libel.”

Younis also gives us updates on the condition of the detained activists.

تحديث 4:40 مساءا توقيت القاهرة: قسم شرطة الدقي يمتنع عن اخلاء سبيل علاء سيف، ومنال بهي، وجمال عيد بحجة عدم وجود الضابط المختص

تحديث 3:40 مساءا توقيت القاهرة: جاري الآن ترحيل علاء ومنال وجمال الى قسم شرطة الدقي. مطلوب تضامن المدونين والنشطاء بالتواجد أمام القسم

Update: 4.40pm Cairo Time: Al Duqi Police Station refuses to release Alaa Saif, Manal Bahi and Jamal Eid under the pretext that the concerned police officer isn't present
3.40pm Cairo Time: Alaa, Manal and Jamal are being transferred to the Duqi Police Station. Bloggers and activists are being urged to show up in front of the police stations.

Other bloggers who have reported the incident were Sandmonkey [5], Hossam El Hamalawy [6] and Malek [7].