(Alexandria, Egypt) An Alexandria court convicted an Egyptian blogger named Abdel Karim Nabil Suleiman today for insulting both Islam and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, sentencing him to four years in jail over posts on his blog.
Suleiman, known online as "Kareem Amer," was sentenced to three years for insulting Islam and inciting sedition and one year for insulting Mubarak. The court session lasted only five minutes, after which the verdict was disclosed.
Suleiman has not denied authoring the posts, but said they merely represented his own views. The jailed blogger's lawyer, Ahmed Seif el-Islam, said that he would appeal the verdict, arguing that the ruling will "terrify other bloggers and will negative impact on the freedom of expression in Egypt."
Human rights groups, journalists, and bloggers have watched the case closely, and many have expressed concern that the conviction could set a legal precedent limiting Internet freedom in Egypt. Dalia Ziada, a journalist, blogger, and activist with the Cairo-based Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, argued that Suleiman's conviction remains the first time an Egyptian blogger has been sentenced for writing on his personal blog.
“It sends a chilling message to bloggers of all persuasions in Egypt and across the Middle East," Ziada said. "We are not free to express ourselves openly on our websites.”
For more information, visit the Free Kareem! website.