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International Pressure Mounts to Free Jailed Egyptian Blogger

A series of demonstrations were held outside Egyptian embassies around the world today to protest the continued imprisonment of Egyptian blogger Kareem Nabil Sulaiman, jailed two years ago for insulting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Islam on his blog.

The 24-year-old blogger was sentenced to three years in prison for insulting Islam and a year for insulting Mubarak.

According to the Free Kareem site, set up by activists rallying for the blogger's release:

Protests will take place in Washington DC, Moscow, Rome, Paris, Berlin, Bucharest, Stockholm, London, and a growing number of cities, in hopes of persuading Egyptian authorities to drop all charges against Mr. Soliman, who has reportedly been tortured in prison. November 6, 2008 marks the completion of Kareem’s second year in prison, and this is the fourth time that demonstrators around the world simultaneously protest in an effort to secure his immediate and unconditional release.

Based solely on his blogposts, Soliman is charged with the alleged crimes of “defaming Egypt’s President, incitement to hate Islam, and highlighting inappropriate aspects that harm the reputation of Egypt.” But members of the Free Kareem Coalition argue that imprisoning Kareem has severely harmed Egypt’s international reputation, and has made millions of people around the world question the country’s supposed commitment to free speech and human rights.

The protests were held in:

* Paris, France

* London, UK

* Brussels, Belgium

* Stockholm, Sweden

* Berlin, Germany

* Bucharest, Romania

* Washington, DC, USA

* New York, NY, USA

* Rome, Italy

* Berne, Switzerland

* Rhode Island, USA

* San Francisco, California

Here are some pictures from the protest held in Rome, Italy.

In a statement released today, Reporters without Borders joined the scores of protesters around the world, calling for the release of the 24-year-old blogger from prison.

“Two years have gone by and nothing has changed. His family have never come to visit him. Only his lawyer reports to the outside world, about his morale, which weakens day after day, and his fragile state of health. His parents, probably as a result of intimidation, have even publicly disowned their son and called for him to be sentenced to death. Wardens have prevented him from leaving his cell since 1st September. Two years, that’s enough. It is time to free him”, the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

For more information on Kareem and his case, visit www.freekareem.org

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