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Egypt: Blogging for Civil and Religious Freedoms

The struggle for personal freedoms is ongoing in Egypt and the nation's bloggers continue to demand the liberty of citizens. Whether it be religious freedom or freedom from the wrath of a brutal police state, Egypt is speaking out against the inhumane treatment of her citizens this week. Plus a veteran blogger gives us a rare look into the inner workings of Egypt's most historic remaining cities.

The Shaha Boy

Egyptian police torture is certainly not a new headline however each individual case carries its own unique and shocking details. One particular case is catching the attention of numerous bloggers across Egypt. It is that of the “Shaha Boy”. First brought to our attention by Wael Abbas (post in Arabic), it was later translated by IRC President (with graphic pictures of the victim)

I was shocked to see this news at Wael Abbas. For several days now I wondered who will have the power to translate this atrocity. Especially while viewing the horrible crimes committed on the body of the, now deceased, 12 year old.

This innocent boy entered the police station alive and left it as a dead body with all the signs of torture and pain.

Sadly deaths resulting from police torture have become more common in the last 6 months, police rarely release any official statements and the families are left empty handed to deal with their loss. This time the death of a 12 year old proved too shocking and the police released their version of events in response to the inevitable fallout.

The official report said that Mohamed Mamdouh did not have any signs of torture on his body, and that the cause of his death was due to heart failure.

However, his body suffered from burns, fractures, serious injuries from electric shock to his buttocks and his testicles.

Zeinobia is following up on this case for us – the boy's body has been exhumed and an investigation has been launched by an independent panel…

More updates I knew today , yesterday a panel of forensic doctors and experts came and digged the body of the boy from the cemetery according to the D.A orders, this is an independent panel , already the primary inspection of the body showed various injuries in various parts from the body that do not go along with the official forensic report the interior ministry is insisting on according to the newspapers and the Websites today.

Let's hope that the attention given to cases of police torture in Egypt bring about a drastic change before others lose their lives.


Baha'i Rights

One of the most impending hurdles for religious freedom has been Egypt's ID card system and its requirement of religious affiliation. The Muslim Network for Baha'i Rights leads the charge for equal recognition for Egypt's Baha'i residents.

Thus far, Baha’is remain prevented by the government from being issued the new ID cards, and are only in possession of the old paper documents. The only option given to them, as instructed by the Ministry of Interior, is that they must lie on the application form regarding their religious affiliation in order to obtain ID documents. They are given only three choices (Muslim Christian or Jew). The application form clearly states that any false statements made by the applicant will be punishable by imprisonment and heavy fines.

Life in Luxor

Big Pharaoh's recent return documents, among other things, include life in Egypt's southern city of Luxor…

The city is terribly boring. It lacks the major attractions and nightlife found in Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada. After work, smoking shisha in a cafe and walking along the Nile courniche is what I usually do until I fall asleep. I try to submerge myself in work as much as possible just to keep myself busy.

Follow Big Pharaoh's return and the Egyptian Blogosphere's fight for freedom every week with me here on Global Voices.

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