Egypt’s Foreign Minister (who previously said he rejects criticism from anyone, “whoever he may be”, over jailing Kareem) is “angry” that the U.S. State Department’s 2006 human rights report mentions the “poor” respect the Egyptian government has for human rights: Egypt anger over US rights report by the BBC. (Hat tip: Rami)
Egypt anger over US rights report
PHOTO: Abdel Kareem was among several bloggers detained in the last year
Egypt has reacted angrily to criticism of its human rights record by the United States – one of its main allies.
Foreign Minister Ahmad Aboul-Gheit accused the US of interfering in its affairs in the state department’s annual human rights report.
The report mentioned several cases in Egypt including torture of prisoners and allegations of arbitrary arrests.
Mr Aboul-Gheit told the BBC that Egypt had a strong commitment to respecting human rights.
He accused some Western governments of trying to persuade Egyptians to make false allegations.
The state department report also detailed restrictions on the judiciary and on civil liberties.
“The government’s respect for human rights remained poor, and serious abuses continued in many areas,” the report said.
Egypt was one of several other countries friendly to the US where there were poor human rights conditions, the report said, others being China, Pakistan, Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Excerpts of the Internet Freedom section of the 2006 Report on Human Rights Practices in Egypt, which also mentions the indefinite detention of Kareem at the end of the year:
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On October 30, RSF published a list of 13 countries it labeled as “enemies of the Internet,” a list which included Egypt due to the recent imprisonment of pro-democracy bloggers.
On June 15, Hala Helmy Boutros, a blogger based in the Upper Egypt city of Qena who had written about Egypt’s Christians, reported that airport security personnel in Cairo prevented her from traveling to the United States to attend a conference on Coptic Christian issues. The authorities ordered Boutros, who had blogged under the name “Hala Al Masry,” to appear in a Cairo State Security Court on June 25. At her June 25 hearing, Boutros faced charges of spreading false news and disrupting Christian-Muslim relations. She was released after paying bail of $525 (LE 3000). After her release, she ceased her blogging and other public activism. She did not appear in court again before year’s end.
On November 6, Alexandria security forces arrested 22-year old student blogger Abdel Karim Nabil Suleiman, whose blog entries had contained strongly-worded critiques of Islam and Al-Azhar’s Sunni Muslim orthodoxy. (Abdel Karim had previously been detained for his writings for 18 days in October 2005.) Abdel Karim had been expelled and reported to the authorities by Al-Azhar University for criticizing Islamic authority. At year’s end, Abdel Karim remained in detention, under a series of renewed detention orders “pending investigation.”