There’s an Egyptian blogger/student named Abdel Kareem Soliman who is about to go on trial for alleged crimes committed on his blog. An international coalition of bloggers, activits, and political leaders is demanding that free expression be respected in Egypt. Abdel Kareem Soliman faces nine years in jail for his blog posts about politics, religious tensions, and women’s rights in Egypt.
The Middle East Interfaith Blogger Network is calling upon Egyptian authorities to drop all of the charges against Abdel Kareem Soliman. His trial begins on Thursday.
Based solely on his blogposts, Abdel Kareem Soliman is charged with the alleged crimes of “defaming Egypt’s President,” “incitement to hate Islam,” and “highlighting inappropriate aspects that harm the reputation of Egypt.” However, members of the Interfaith Blogger Network argue that the decision to detain Abdel Kareem Soliman for the past 10 weeks without trial has severely harmed Egypt’s international reputation.
In a recent development, members of Congress have taken up Abdel Kareem Soliman’s case. Congressmen Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Barney Frank (D-MA) sent a letter to Egyptian Ambassador Nabil Fahmy demanding Soliman’s release and calling upon Egypt to respect freedom of expression and freedom of conscience.
Their letter states that the decision to arrest Soliman “simply for displeasure over writings on his personal weblog raises serious concern about the level of respect for these freedoms in Egypt.” Egyptian bloggers plan to pack the courthouse in Alexandria, Egypt, on Thursday, and millions of supporters around the world will be following the case via blogposts.