This was surely a low blow for freedom of speech and human rights.
You will know why, if you read this article.
ALEXANDRIA, Egypt (Reuters) - An Alexandria court convicted an Egyptian blogger Thursday for insulting both Islam and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and sentenced him to four years in jail over his writings on the Internet.
Abdel Karim Suleiman, a 22-year-old former law student who has been in custody since November, was the first blogger to stand trial in Egypt for his Internet writings. He was convicted in connection with eight articles he wrote since 2004.
Rights groups and opposition bloggers have watched Suleiman's case closely, and said they feared a conviction could set a legal precedent limiting Internet freedom in Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country.
The London-based rights group Amnesty International said in a statement: "This is yet another slap in the face of freedom of expression in Egypt." The group considers Suleiman to be a prisoner of conscience, jailed solely for peacefully expressing his opinion, the statement added.
The Paris-based press freedom organization Reporters Without Borders said the sentence was "a disgrace" and the United Nations should respond by disqualifying Egypt from hosting an Internet Governance Forum in 2009.
"It is time the international community took a stand on Egypt's repeated violations of press freedom and the rights of Internet users," a statement added.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Tom Casey also criticized the verdict, telling reporters that Washington was "very concerned" about Suleiman's conviction and sentencing and regarded freedom of speech as a basic human right.
A fellow blogger who runs the "Rantings of a Sandmonkey" blog
(http://sandmonkey.org/) said: "It's a dangerous precedent because it will impact the only free space available now, which is the Internet. The charges were undefined and vague."
"Tell me. What does insulting the president mean? What is the difference between criticizing religion and being in contempt of religion?" he added, asking to remain anonymous.
The Internet has emerged as a major forum for critics of the Egyptian government to express their views in a country where the state runs large newspapers and main television stations.
While Suleiman was the first blogger to go on trial for the content of his writings, other opposition bloggers have been arrested periodically during street protests and then held for weeks or months before being released.
Suleiman, a Muslim and a liberal, has not denied writing the articles but said they merely represented his own views. His lawyers said they planned to appeal the verdict, and one member of the defense team described the trial as unfair.
One of Suleiman's articles said that al-Azhar in Cairo, one of the most prominent seats of Sunni Muslim learning, was promoting extreme ideas. Another article, headlined "The Naked Truth of Islam as I Saw it," accused Muslims of savagery during clashes between Muslims and Christians in Alexandria in 2005.
He has also described some of the companions of the Muslim prophet Mohammad as "terrorists," and has likened Mubarak to dictatorial pharaohs who ruled ancient Egypt.
"I was hoping that he would get a harsher sentence because he presented to the world a bad image of Egypt. There are things that one should not talk about, like religion and politics. He should have got a 10-year sentence," said lawyer Nizar Habib, who attended the trial as a member of the public.
Yahoo news link
Somebody who lives in that country, went to school in that very institution and knew exactly what is the present situation of his people decided to post a blog entry sharing his sentiments with fellow Egyptians and probably others around the world was sentenced to four years of prison just because he had the balls to air out his own PERSONAL OPINION!
Cheers to all those who say otherwise. You have once again silenced a person from speaking his mind and dare calling yourselves "open" to things and criticisms.
""I was hoping that he would get a harsher sentence because he presented to the world a bad image of Egypt. There are things that one should not talk about, like religion and politics. He should have got a 10-year sentence,""
Such is the hypocrisy!
First of all let me just say this...
Fuck you Nizar Habib!!!
He didn't insult ISLAM. Just an institution and a leader of a nation.
And why would you silence someone who wants to talk about religions and politics?
Can't someone voice his grievances and opinions in a system that is so backward and run by an aging dictator that is really a megalomaniac?
By posting this blog entry I wonder what my jail term would be...
Bring it on you bitches!
The problem with the world today is that everything has to be politically correct.
Moral of that story is, YOU CAN'T PLEASE EVERYBODY!
Whatever you do or say, someone would always stand up and complain and feel they were insulted.
So fuck them all! And just live your life the way you want to.
Please join the on going online petition to free kareem!To add insult to injury, Kareem has been disowned by his parents!