The Internet In the Arab World
A New Space of Repression?
No Rules, No Limits
United Arab Emirates:
Freedom of expression is missing despite a decision banning imprisonment for press crimes
They asked the lawyers of the Arabic Network: Are you Muslim? And then they refused the visit
Borg El-Arab prison in Alexandria: the State Security prevents lawyers from visiting Karim Amer and Hani Nazeer
Cairo, May 19, 2009.
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information said today that it will file a complaint with the Minister of Interior and the
Attorney-General, to demand an investigation with the state security officers in Burg Al Arab prison, because of their refusal to allow lawyers from the Legal Aid Unit for Freedom of Expression in the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information to visit the bloggers Kareem Amer and Hani Nazeer, although lawyers had obtained an official visit permission from the Public Prosecution for the first blogger and another permission from the Office of the detainees' affairs to visit the second blogger, since the prevention of prison visit despite the existence of a visit permission is deemed a crime committed by State security officials in prison.
Lawyers of the Arabic Network covered a distance of about 250 kilometers, a large part of it was in the desert of Alexandria to reach Borg El-Arab prison, and they arrived on time, and handed over the visit permissions to the prison administration.
A few minutes prior to the visit, they were surprised by the question: Are you Muslim?
Then an official of the State Security came out and said that the visit is rejected, after a heated argument, he returned to his superiors, then came back with a strange and naïve trick, claiming that the lawyers membership cards go back to 2008, and that they should attend with the cards of 2009!!
The Network's lawyers maintained that they are lawyers and that they have the Lawyers' Syndicate membership cards, as well as their National IDs which state that their functions are 'lawyers', besides, they have the payment receipts of participation in the Syndicate in 2009, and the Lawyers' Syndicate, due to the absence of its Chief, did not give any membership cards in 2009,the lawyers also maintained that the Public Prosecutions granted them, in their capacity as lawyers, visit permissions, however, the security official refused to allow their visit, saying "May the United Nations do something for you!".
Gamal Eid, Executive Director of the Arabic Network, said that "We do not know how to describe these illegal practices which lack any humanitarian grounds, Kareem Amer and Hany Nazeer are prisoners in one of the worst prisons in Egypt, our lawyers took all the legal procedures for their visit, and the prison administration allowed the visit since they know the lawyers, but according to what they said, they cannot disobey the State security officials, we are wondering who will stop this abuse and disregard for law? ".
The Arabic Network, as it reveals this new police action of the State Security apparatus, expects that the Minister of Interior will conduct a serious and transparent investigation with these officers who care about the lawyers' religions rather than the legality of the papers and permissions they hold, as well as the intransigence by the decision of United Nations experts issued at the end of March 2009 to consider the imprisonment of Karim Amer as arbitrary.
UN experts condemn detention of Egyptian blogger