Kareem Amer finally freed. Egyptian blogger Abdul Kareem Nabeel Suleiman, whose blogger name is Kareem Amer, was released this week after being held past his due date and beaten by secret police. Kareem served his four year sentence plus another week and a half.
Kareem had criticized his religion, Islam, and its actions toward women and toward Egypt's Coptic Christian minority. He also criticized the government of President Mubarak. For that he was jailed, where he was beaten and denied elemental rights. He is, mercifully, back at home with his family and out of the public eye for a while.
Egypt used Facebook to flush anti-religious West Bank blogger. Walid Husayin, who was arrested last week, was found out in part by investigations carried out via Facebook. Many, possibly all, governments use Facebook and other social media tools to create fake profiles for the purpose of following and observing alleged threats. That seems to be the case in part for Walid.
Chinese Twitter users gets one-year in labor camp for tweet. Cheng Jianping has wound up in a Chinese "re-education camp" based on a few words appended to a retweet. Mocking nationalistic vandalism that flared up around a Chinese-Japanese dispute over the ownership of uninhabited islands, she retweeted another's message and added the ironic admonition, "Charge, angry youth!"
Youngest imprisoned blogger on trial in Iran. 18-year-old blogger and women's rights activist Navid Mohebbi is on trial, if you can call it that. He is in front of a "revolutionary" court in the northern Iranian city of Amol. He is the youngest blogger currently under arrest. His attorney is not allowed to be in the court room with him.
U.S. Senate judiciary committee approves online censorship bill unanimously. The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA), is an attempt to make it easier to shut down sites that are infringing on legitimate copyright. The problem is that it also will, if it becomes law, make it much easier to shut down any site at any time for the barest of reasons. As Wired put it:
"(T)he law's critics do not believe that giving the federal government the right to shut down websites at will based upon a vague and arbitrary standard of evidence, even if no law-breaking has been proved, is a particularly good idea."
Azerbaijani bloggers released. Adnan Hajizade and Emin Milli were arrested on July 8 of last year after being beaten "while dining with a group of other civil society and youth activists in a downtown Baku restaurant." The youth activists and bloggers were both released within the past week.
U.S. hacker detained, interrogated at airport. In similar wise to the temporary detention of Wikileaks volunteer Jacob Appelbaum in August, this week "Moxie Marlinspike" was also stopped and searched. U.S. Customs and Border Protection took the security consultant into custody at JFK when he stepped off a flight from the Domican republic and searched his laptop and phone. He refused to give them passwords and the devices were returned. He said he had no intention of using them now that they were in government hands. An airport exception in American law allows warrantless searches of those returning from foreign countries.
Azerbaijan photo by Nick Taylor