Egypt: Banned Documentary, Cairo Metro Strike, Torture Trial and More

Egyptian bloggers continue this week to blog on human rights and freedom issues among other interesting topics.

Due Thank You note by Egyptian blogger Abdel Monem Mahmoud: Following his release from prison, he wrote his first blog titled “Ana ikhwan… I am free”. He thanked all fellow bloggers and organizations that showed support. He was extremely surprised and happy to receive a huge number of congratulations messages. He had the intention to write about his last experience in detention, however he felt so overwhelmed with the sincere feelings from everyone around that he could not write but to thank everyone.

He concludes his post saying that freedom is truly invaluable and it deserves more sacrifice so that all the oppressed in this country (Egypt) can have their freedom and not only him. He says “we must give our best so that the Egyptian people can be able to enjoy freedom and dignity…Egypt needs freedom.”

Monem blogs under the name of “Ana Ikwan”. Ikhwan in Egyptian Arabic means Muslim Brotherhood. He was detained in prison for more than 45 days for political allegations.

Freedom of worship in Egypt: Baha’i Faith in Egypt blog reports on the release of a new documentary film in Egypt. “An independent Egyptian film maker, named Ahmed Ezzat, has just released a documentary on the struggle of the Egyptian Baha'is. The film, banned by the Egyptian authorities, is entitled “Identity Crisis:My Religion or My Country: The Baha'i Quagmire in Egypt.”

On December 16, 2006, the Supreme Administrative Council of Egypt ruled that the government may not recognize the Bahá'í Faith in official identification numbers (ID documents). Consequently, Egyptian Bahá'ís are unable to obtain government documents, including ID cards, birth, death, marriage or divorce certificates, or passports, all of which require a person's religion to be listed.

Unlike so many world countries, in Egyptian IDs, religion must be listed.

Wael Abbass continues his anti-torture campaign: Egyptian citizen Emad Al Kabir, microbus driver, was tortured in a police station. After the release of his torture video on blogs and due to public opinion and press media pressure, the officer responsible for torturing Emad Al Kabir now is in court for trial. Wael Abbass, a popular Egyptian blogger, who uncovered several torture incidents against citizens in some police stations, continues his anti-torture campaign on his blog. This week was another court session where Islam Nabih, the officer accused of torturing Al Kabir, was trying to defend himself. Wael Abbas says that he is so surprised to learn that the officers at the Ministry of the Interior who torture citizens form a kind of a network to defend each other. Abbass said he always ridiculed the idea until he saw another officer sitting next to Nabih in his support in the court hearing. Wael met this officer before and was told by him that all those torture videos are fabricated and do not exist. Wael’s point is despite how clear cut these videos are, some sympathizing police officers are still denying them instead of acknowledging committing grave mistakes against innocent citizens.

Cairo Metro Strike: Cairo is one of the most populous capitals in the world. Millions rely daily on Cairo metro or subway. Arabawy yesterday reported a train drivers strike due to the injury of one their colleagues. However in this update, he says that the strike was contained. Few years ago, I remember it was a rare incident if almost non-existent to hear about strikes within any category of workers or professionals.

Finally a call to Renew old Friendships: Tarek of gr33ndata blog calls on continuing to socialize electronically and enjoy your friends and abandon all those conspiracy theory of organizations trying to spy on you. Tarek thinks it is really fun to find friends over the internet and renew old friendships using Facebook, Flicker and blogging technologies!

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