Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Freedom for Kareem

(Update 2/22: Kareem sentenced, below)

(Update 2/26: Post on Volokh Conspiracy, below)

Just in case you were wondering about the Freedom For Kareem logo on the sidebar of the website, Michelle Malkin had a current post up about it that explains just who this incredibly courageous young man is, and what he stands for. She has also posted a link to an Op-Ed that appeared today in the Washington Post, defending and speaking up for Kareem. Please read it and consider the fate of this brave young man.

He is Abdelkareem Nabil Soliman. His country of Egypt and his family have turned on him for standing up for a fundamental freedom that too many of us have come to take for granted in the 230 + years since we declared our nation's independence. He has freely expressed his views on his blog, ones that have been critical of the Egyptian government, and of radical Islam. As a result he was expelled from his University, has received death threats, and his family have disowned him. And now he is to be jailed.

Such courage cannot be permitted to leave us speechless.

In a twist of fate, Kareem is currently scheduled to be sentenced tomorrow, February 22nd, for to up to 11 years in prison for simply exercising his God-given right of free speech. The date is, of course, also the actual anniversary of the birth of George Washington, the man who led us to victory in our revolutionary war for independence, and for political freedom, in which we declared to the world that governmental power resided in the people, and that individual liberty was the touchstone of that freedom.

Therefore, in the spirit of Tom Paine, we will not be summer soldiers in the fight for freedom of expression.

Please also consider finding a way to express your views on behalf of Kareem, whether through a communication to the State Department, or some other way. There is one recent indication that American diplomatic pressure can indeed have an effect with the Egyptian government.

Michelle also posted the following information on her site:

Contact the State Department:

Public Communication Line
(202)647-6575

Office of Public Liaison
Bureau of Public Affairs
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW, Room 2206
Washington, DC 20520-2204


Update: 2/22: Reuters is reporting that Egyptian blogger Kareem was sentenced to four years in jail. In a story posted by reporter Alaa Shahine, it was reported that Kareem was found guilty of insulting Islam and the Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak through eight internet postings on his blog. Here are a few grafs from the story. Please, read the whole thing.

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt (Reuters) - An Alexandria court convicted an Egyptian blogger on 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.

. . .

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 Muhammad as "terrorists", and has likened Mubarak to dictatorial pharaohs who ruled ancient Egypt.


(Update 2/26:) Ilya Somin, at the Volokh Conspiracy links to Sandmonkey's take on PajamasMedia, and notes the irony in the "authorian" charge related to Mubarak -- insulting the President. Somin also briefly discusses the broader implications of the publicity associated with this case for the future.


Free Kareem.

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