Oslo, 15 March 2007
His Excellency Mohammad Hosni Mubarak
President of the Republic of Egypt
Fax: +202 390 1998
As Chair of Writers in Prison Committee of Norwegian PEN, I protest the four-year sentence given to Internet writer Abdel Kareem Nabil Suleiman, better known under the pseudonym of Kareem Amer. We are convinced that he has peacefully exercised his right to freedom of expression, and Norwegian PEN calls for the charges to be dismissed and Kareem Amer to be released immediately and unconditionally.
I also protest the decision of the Court of Appeal to allow a civil suit against Kareem Amer on charges of ‘insulting Islam’. I am serioously concerned about him, and I seek assurances that he is being treated humanely in detention.
This is not the first time that Kareem Amer has been detained for his critical writings. He was held for 12 days in October 2005 for his articles on Islam and his coverage of sectarian riots in Alexandria. These articles also led to his dismissal from al-Azhar University in March 2006 after its disciplinary board found him guilty of blasphemy against Islam.
I am reminding the Egyptian authorities of their obligations to protect freedom of expression as laid out by Article 19 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, to which Egypt is a signatory, as well as President Mubarak’s pledge in February 2004 to decriminalise defamation.
The Writers in Prison Committee of Norwegian PEN protests the Alexandria Appeal Court’s decision to uphold the four-year prison sentence handed down to Internet writer Abdel Kareem
Chair Writers in Prison Committee, Norwegian PEN
His Excellency Cr Mamdouh Muheiddin Marei
Minister of Justice
Magles El Shaab St, Justice Bldg
Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Norwegian Embassy in Cairo, Egypt
Egyptian Embassy in Oslo, Norway