Two weeks ago, we broke the joyous news that Kareem Amer had been released from imprisonment in Egypt. The Free Kareem Coalition worked in tandem with many organizations and individuals over the past four years to raise awareness of Kareem’s fight for justice, and with Kareem’s release, it is time to call an end to our mission.
A component of the Coalition’s work was raising funds to go towards organizing “Free Kareem” rallies and publicity campaigns events around the globe. We raised USD$4,368.26, to be exact — and sent $1,026.80 to several organizers to reimburse the costs of printing flyers, buying placards and other materials to aid in mounting effective public demonstrations.
Another USD$500 was sent to Kareem during his prison sentence, for the provision of food, clothing and other material items for his physical comfort. This was sent through a mutual friend of Kareem’s and ours, Shahinaz Abdel Salam.
As of today, USD$2,841.46 remains in the Coalition’s fund. As Kareem’s release date approached, we intended to deliver these remaining funds to Kareem, in hopes that he would use them as he saw fit after his prison release.
However, after due consideration, Kareem has informed us that he would prefer not to receive the funds raised on his behalf. Instead, he said we were free to do with the funds whatever we thought was appropriate.
To that end, we have elected to donate the remaining funds in their entirety to the press-freedom advocacy group, Reporters Without Borders. This organization has worked tirelessly around the globe to advocate for the rights of journalists to speak and write freely, in the fight for a free press — the very essence of democracy. Reporters Without Borders also worked tirelessly to raise awareness of Kareem’s plight, and continues the struggle for press freedoms in his homeland of Egypt.
We believe that this donation is a perfect capstone to the Coalition’s efforts to free a budding journalist who only dared to speak his mind, and was punished severely for it. We hope that the donation may help, in whatever small way, to aid bloggers and journalists like Kareem, whose identities may not even yet be known.
The donation will be made in approximately one to two weeks from today, and proof of donation will be posted to this site in a follow-up message.
The Free Kareem Coalition wishes to thank the 86 individual donors who contributed to this important cause, and the many other individuals who offered advice and encouragement. We hope we made a difference, and sincerely wish that Kareem’s best days are ahead of him.
- Chris Kilmer, Treasurer
P.S. This message is translated into Arabic and published on MEYArabic here.
Update: Feel free to download the receipts here as confirmation of the donation to Reporters Without Borders.