An Example of Democracy at Work in the Middle East

Net blogger gets four years’ jail for ‘insults’
ALAA SHAHINE IN ALEXANDRIA

AN EGYPTIAN blogger was jailed for four years yesterday after being convicted of insulting Islam and Egypt’s president, Hosni Mubarak.

Abdel Karim Suleiman, 22, a former law student, was the first blogger to stand trial in Egypt for his internet writings. He was charged in connection with eight articles written since 2004.

Rights groups and opposition bloggers said they feared it could set a legal precedent, limiting internet freedom in Egypt.

Amnesty International said: “This is yet another slap in the face of freedom of expression in Egypt.” It added that it considered Suleiman to be a prisoner of conscience, jailed for peacefully expressing his opinion.

The Paris-based group Reporters Without Borders said the sentence was “a disgrace” and the UN should disqualify Egypt from hosting an internet governance forum in 2009.

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