Sunday, May 07, 2006

Blog Swarm: Egyptian Blogger Arrested

Free Alaa!

Sandmonkey reports that Alaa, an Egyptian blogger who also participated in the anti-terrorist protests in Egypt, was arrested today, May 7, while demonstrating for a free judiciary in Egypt. He has updates and exact reports on what happened with ongoing issues. It seems that Alaa was removed from regular police custody and taken to a state security facility. In Egypt, that is not good since that is the place where torture and other heinous activities are known to happen.

Instapundit provides the number and address for the Egyptian Embassy in the United States.

The Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt
3521 International Ct. NW
Washington DC 20008
Phone (202) 895 5400
Fax (202) 244 5131
(202) 244 4319

I think we should also bring this to the attention of the US embassy in Egypt since diplomatic pressure is the only way to get Alaa out and let them know that we are watching them.

Email to the American embassy in Egypt:

Global Voices has more info on the situation:

Alaa Abd el-Fatah one of the Egyptian political activists, and one of the first bloggers in Egypt was arrested today together with around ten more activists during a peaceful demonstration in solidarity with sixty activists who were arrested over the past two weeks in a non-violent sit in, as well who were held in custody for two weeks under investigation for “crimes” that if anything would raise only mockery including, humiliating the president, possession of “publishing equipment”(graffiti spray) and blocking traffic.

The first group of activists arrested two weeks ago was supposed to have their cases reviewed by prosecution today, so as to release or renew holding them under investigation. In solidarity with them 200 lawyers approached as a defense council, a number of judges, and a number of activists among whom were Alaa and his colleagues gathered around the court house.[snip]

For hours, Alaa and his fellow activists shouted slogans against the government, sang and showed solidarity with their detained fellow activists. At the end of the demonstration police forces surrounding the group increased, refused to let them leave and started picking those to arrest, Alaa and ten others. They were taken to the nearby police station were they were denied lawyers, or any visitors. Lawyers are now standing outside the station just monitoring in case the arrested activists are taken somewhere else, which is exactly what happened. Three of them were taken blindfolded to another police station and were released later.

Alaa has a wide ranging political view. Though I have known him as a Pan Arabist with Socialist tendencies, I'd take his socialist democracy over the current regime and police state in Egypt or the advancement of the Muslim Brotherhood. It's well known that the MB continues to be the biggest opposition in Egypt because it continues to proliferate through mosques while other secular democracy opposition is squashed routinely and has limited ability to organize outside of the eyes and ears of the state. Alaa is anti-terrorist and pro-democracy. He was demonstrating for a free judiciary and for the release of other activists who were detained for doing the same.

Wherever democracy advocates exist, we should support them. From Egypt to Iran to China, we should not abandon them. It is part of the fight against the rise of global fascism in the name of Islam and the fight against tyranny in every form.

Write your senators, the embassy, our embassy, the newspapers. CNN, Fox anyone that might be interested in this story.

Free Alaa!

Sandmonkey says It's War

Update: My Letters to the Egyptian and American Embassies


To Whom It May Concern:

I have been advised that Alaa Abd El-Fatah and ten other activists were arrested on May 7, 2006. While three have been released, Mr. El-Fatah and seven others remain in custody.

Free speech and the right to demonstrate peacefully are the bedrocks of democracy. Further, an independent judiciary that treats all citizens as equal before the law insures the security of the people. The arrest of Mr. el-Fatah is deeply troubling for Americans like me. I believe that Egypt is an important ally in the war on terror, however, I do not believe that it gives the Egyptian government the right to arbitrarily arrest its peacefully demonstrating citizens.

As a concerned citizen of the United States, a nation that provides economic and military assistance to Egypt, I believe that it is my responsibility to inform my government and the Egyptian government of my concerns and expectations.

I ask that Mr. el-Fatah's situation be re-assessed. I ask that Mr. El-Fatah and the other activists be kept safe and no harm be done to them. I ask that Mr. El-Fatah and the other activists be released immediately.

I have contacted the American Embassy and my congressman to express my concern over the situation. A large number of groups have been advised of the situation and we will organize a boycott of Egypt, Egyptian products, Egyptian tourism and all other aspects of Egyptian political and economic activities if Mr. El-Fatah is harmed or not released within 24 hours. We expect that the other activists with Mr. El Fatah will receive the same protection and immediate release.

I am a firm friend of Egypt, its people and their democratic aspirations. I hope that Egypt and the United States has a long and prosperous relationship. I ask that the Egyptian government consider its position, its relationship with the United States and its committment to democracy. I ask that the Egyptian government take this into consideration and take the right actions in relations to Mr. El-Fatah and the other activists' situation.

Thank you for your time and attention,

Kathleen Henry
United States Citizen

US Embassy in Egypt

To Whom It May Concern:

I have been advised that Egyptian Blogger and Activist Alaa Abd el-Fatah has been arrested on May 7, 2006 during a demonstration in support of activists previously arrested by the Cairo police. These activists continue to demand a free, independent judiciary that is the bedrock of democracy in the United States and other nations. Without equality before the law, there can be no equality among citizens.

The track record of the Mubarek regime in suppressing free speech and secular democratic activists continues to trouble Americans like me. I understand the need for allies in the war on terror, but I am continually frustrated by the amount of money and support we provide Egypt only to see Egyptian state controlled newspapers routinely demonize our nation and this regime continue to suppress secular democratic activists.

This is another in the long line of activities by this regime that are repugnant and destroys democratic movements while Islamist organizations are allowed to flourish or at least operate. Please take this situation seriously. We ask that the embassy take the following measures:

1) Determine Mr. el-Fatah's situation
2) Express our concern that Mr. El-Fatah remain safe and unharmed while in custody
3) Remind the Egyptian government that peaceful demonstration and free speech are the bedrock of democracy
4) Remind the Egyptian government that, as an ally of the United States, we have certain expectations in its behavior and actions towards its people
5) Ask that Mr. el-Fatah be released immediately

If Mr. el-Fatah is not released, a boycott of Egypt tourism and products will be organized.

I will be contacting the Egyptian Embassy in the United States to express these concerns.

Thank you,

Kathleen Henry

Another fight that still goes on: Ayman Nour

Clouds shadow Mr. Nour's appeal, scheduled to begin on May 18. The judge named to preside is deeply enmeshed in some related political battles. A majority of Egypt's judges are in rebellion against the regime, demanding full judicial independence. Although less widely noted outside the country, this may prove to be a more important landmark on the road to democracy than last year's elections. Following the parliamentary elections, which were under the supervision of the judiciary, several judges accused others of fixing results on behalf of the regime. No action has been taken against the accused, but the accusers have summarily been stripped of immunity and are facing prosecution for "insulting" their colleagues. The judge appointed to "investigate" them (perhaps because of loyalty to the regime) is the same one who will preside at Mr. Nour's appeal. And two of his attorneys have been summoned for questioning and threatened with charges for insulting the president.

It's all the same fight. Democracy in Egypt. Free Alaa! Free Ayman Nour!


The Sandmonkey said...

awesome :)

Anonymous said...