16 March 2007
Press Freedom:
An Award for jailed Egyptian blogger

I say to Al-Azhar and its university and its professors and preachers who stand against anyone who thinks differently to them: 'You are destined for the rubbish bin of history, where you will find no one to cry for you and your regime will end like others have'. The author of these words, Abdel Karim Suleiman, a 22-year old Egyptian blogger, was sentenced last February to four years imprisonment -- three years for insulting Islam and one year for defaming President Hosni Mubarak. The court of Alexandria upheld the sentence on 12 March.

The decision is seen by regional and international rights groups as an attempt to silence Egypt's burgeoning blogging community, which counts thousands of bloggers. Whereas only a few discuss politics, some have recently tackled alleged cases of torture by Egyptian security services.

 On 14 March, Abdel Karim Suleiman, who blogs under the name Karim Amer, was among the five defenders of free speech honoured at the 2007 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression awards in London. These awards are given each year to individuals who dare express their views in environments that would deter most from the slightest dissent. Suleiman won The Index/Hugo Young Award for Journalism 2007.