'Until you change your mind'

On the first anniversary of his imprisonment, when fellow bloggers all over the world held demonstrations for his release, Egyptian blogger Kareem Amer was allegedly tortured for having exposed corruption in prison.
By Menassat.com Staff
Egypt, Kareem Amer
Kareem Amer being led away to prison. © R.R.

Granted, they weren't huge demonstrations. In some cases only a handful of people showed up. But the number of locations was impressive.

On Friday November 9, fellow bloggers staged 'Free Kareem' demonstrations in front of the Egyptian consulates in Brussels, London, Prague, Rio de Janeiro, Paris, Berlin and Stockholm.

The occasion was the first anniversary of the imprisonment of blogger Kareem Amer, a.k.a. Abdel Kareem Nabil Suleiman, for "vilifying religion" and "defaming the president" of Egypt.

The demonstrators didn't know it but virtually at the same time, Kareem Amer was being tortured inside the Bourj Al-Arab prison in Cairo.

Kareem reported his torture to his lawyers from the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (HRinfo) and the Hisham Mubarak Center.

The torture was allegedly perpetrated by another prisoner and a prison guard on the order of Midhat Samir, one of the prison's investigation officers.

According to HRinfo, "Kareem was beaten in Ward 22 where he was imprisoned at the time. The beating resulted in a broken tooth along with a number of bruises."

He was then transferred to a disciplinary cell, where he was handcuffed and had his feet put in shackles. He was beaten again, causing more injuries.

Another inmate, Kareem Suleiman, was then brought in, stripped naked and beaten severely in front of Kareem Amer. The guards threatened to give Kareem Amer the same treatment if he didn't mind his own business.

The reason for the beating, according to HRinfo, was that Kareem had uncovered a corruption case inside the prison where he was being held and had told his lawyers about it.

Since he was imprisoned one year ago, Kareem has been subjected to systematic discrimination and mistreatment by the prison guards, HRinfo says.

Kareem told his lawyers that the mistreatment is always preceded by the phrase: "This is until you change your mind!"

The two organizations are calling for his transfer to another prison, where he can receive more humanitarian treatment and where his rights as a prisoner will be respected.

Both organizations, the Arabic Network and Hisham Mubarak Centre for Law, have called for an immediate investigation into Kareem's mistreatment. They are also asking for Kareem to be transferred to another prison where he might receive a more humane treatment.

Also read:

From Menassat.com:

Blogging all the way to jail
Posted on 10/29/2007 - 09:45
In Egypt, bloggers are talking about issues that the traditional media fail to report on. And they are going to jail for it. Egyptian blogger Abdul Karim Suleiman, a.k.a Karim Amer, after being sentenced to four years in prison. (AFP)

The Internet as a global village for Arab activists
Esra'a Al Shafei, director of the Mideast Youth website and the Free Kareem campaign, argues that the Internet has provided Arab activists with the means to bring about real change in the region.

From The Guardian:

- Jailhouse Blog: Khaled Diab on Kareem Amer


- The Free Kareem Campaign
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (HRinfo)