Home Second Blogger to Ever Die in Prison: This Week in Online Tyranny

Second Blogger to Ever Die in Prison: This Week in Online Tyranny

Bahraini blogger dies in custody. In the midst of protests in that Gulf country that have already seen casualties, and following the arrest of a poet, Bahraini blogger Zakariya Rashid Hassan al-Ashiri died Saturday while in custody of the country’s security services.

According to Al Jazeera, the official statement said that al-Ashiri was “held since the second of this month on charges of inciting hatred against the regime and the promotion of sectarian” and his death was a result of “sickle cell anemia.” His family vehemently denied he had this condition.

Al-Ashiri follows Omid Reza Misayafi, the Iranian blogger, who died from neglect (at least) two years ago, as the second blogger to die in custody.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, the diagnosis was contested by his family. There are also photos alleged to be of al-Ashir, that indicate he was beaten to death. (These are terrible photos. Be warned.) The man responsible for posting the photos, Nabeel Rajab, was subsequently arrested by the Bahrain government for allegedly doctoring them.

Russia creates citizen Internet cop corps. Lifting a page from the Chinese playbook, the three major Russian ISPs have created a “League of Internet Safety.” Naturally, they are focusing on child pornography, or more accurately, child pornography is their cover.

Given the “30 Ruble Army,” a group of paid pro-government Web commenters and the recent possibly government-driven DDoS on LiveJournal, it’s quite certain that not only is this government-sanctioned, it is designed to punish anyone who criticises the government online.

Dubai arrests blogger. In what may be the first blogger arrest in that emirate, Dubai has arrested Ahmed Mansur, a blogger who urged reform, including additional elections. Mansur’s comments are in keeping with protests in nearby Bahrain and other Arab states.

Egyptian blogger sentenced for criticizing the military. For the first time since Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak was chased from power, a blogger has been sentenced to a jail term. Maikel Nabil Sanad Ibrahim, a veterinarian, blogger and conscientious objector, has been sentenced to three years in prison for criticizing the military. Maikel Nabil was arrested last month, amid violence directed by the military, or elements of the military, against those protesters who remained in Tahrir Square in Cairo.

250,000 Chinese Facebook users disappear in one day. On April 5th, two days after the arrest of artist and architect Ai Weiwei, 250,000 Facebook users disappeared, according to Shanghaist. Citing data from SocialBakers, a Facebook metrics site, they discovered not a tapering off, as of loss of interest, but a sudden, instantaneous drop-off.

Two things are contemporary with this unexplained decline: the arrest of Ai Weiwei amid an overall crackdown on dissidence and dissidents, and Facebook’s negotiations to create a Chinese social network with search giant Baidu.

Dubai photo by Keith Parker

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