Home Blasphemy Charges in Egypt & Palestine: This Week in Online Tyranny

Blasphemy Charges in Egypt & Palestine: This Week in Online Tyranny

Egyptian secret police kidnap and beat blogger while Palestine arrests another on blasphemy charges. Kareem Amer finished his four year sentence in an Egyptian jail but was not freed. Instead, the SSI, the Egyptian security service, kidnapped him and has been beating him for eight days away from the Burj Al Arab jail where he served his term.

At the same time, Palestinian authorities have arrested West Bank blogger Walid Husayin. He faces a life sentence for heresy for writing atheistic statements on several blogs and for creating satirical Facebook pages on which “he spoofed the Koran, including by declaring himself God and ordering his followers to smoke marijuana.”

A mere glance in the direction of the consequences of blasphemy laws registers the decision by the United Nations to introduce a resolution condemning the “defamation” of religion as a condemnable act. Human Rights First released a study several months ago that comes to the conclusion that far from protecting the society they are used in, they create an even unsafer environment, including mob violence and use of the blasphemy to destroy political rivals.

This month, the

United Nations hosts another set of debates

, prior to implementing the resolution.

Russian blogger and journalist severely beaten. Oleg Kashin, a blogger and journalist who had written on ecological topics in the Khimki Forest for Kommersant, was beaten severely in Moscow at the beginning of the month. His legs and fingers were broken and he suffered head trauma. A Khimki forest advocate had been beaten days before.

Egyptian blogger fired for being “absent” from work due to arrest.Hani Nazeer was arrested in 2008, then released this summer. When he returned to his job at a prep school, he was informed by the administration he was being fired. For unexcused absences. In a related story, Kafka is Egyptian.

Mexico arrests free software activist in Chiapas. Héctor Bautista, the sysadmin for the Council of Arts and Culture in the Mexican state of Chiapas, was arrested by police in his workplace early this month. Chiapas was the site of the Zapatista uprising in the mid-nineties. A lot of that group’s communication with the outside world was via digital media. A free software movement grew up around that, a movement Bautista is active in.

However, when Bautista was arrested and his equipment seized, it was without a warrant and the charges,”such as they are, include possession of child pornography. He is currently under house arrest.

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