Alexandra Sandels

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Latest by Alexandra Sandels


Abo Omar accuses state security of shuting down his Internet blog

CAIRO: Former terrorist suspect and ghost detainee turned blogger, Abo Omar El-Masri, claims that state security has shut down two of his Internet blogs. The Alexandria-based cleric, also known as Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, joined Egypt’s vibrant blogosphere in July this year, airing his thoughts on life, politics and religion on his weblog “aboomarelmasri. When …

Alexandra Sandels

Amnesty International stresses 'sweeping measures against torture needed' in Egypt

CAIRO: London-based rights group Amnesty International called on Egypt to implement stronger measures against torture practices. The statement was a reaction to Monday’s sentencing of two police officers from Giza Governorate to three-year prison terms for torturing and sodomizing microbus driver Emad El-Kabir in January 2006. The organization welcomed the decision, but wanted the government …

Alexandra Sandels

Policemen sentenced to 3-year prison terms in high-profile torture case

CAIRO: Amid tight security, the Egyptian Higher Court in Cairo sentenced Monday two police officers to three years in prison on charges of torture. Captain Islam Nabih and Officer Reda Fathi were found guilty of torturing and sexually abusing 22-year old microbus driver Emad El-Kabir with an iron stick at Bulaq El-Dakror police station in …

Alexandra Sandels

Egyptian Bahaiis: second class citizens in their own country

CAIRO: Shady Samir, a 33-year-old business owner, lost his father two years ago. Yet, he is still paying the yearly taxes on his father’s business as if he was alive. Why? Because his father is Bahai and official Egyptian documents such as the death certificate only recognize the Christian, Muslim, or Jewish faiths. For Samir’s …

Alexandra Sandels

New verdict a blow to Bahai case

CAIRO: A Cairo Administrative Court postponed on Tuesday its decision in two controversial legal cases concerning the rights of Bahai Egyptians to obtain official documents. The hearing, which saw a heavy press presence and was attended by several human rights activists, was adjourned till Nov. 13. “The postponement of the decision did not come as …

Alexandra Sandels

Coptic blogger arrested, harassed by state security

CAIRO: Coptic human rights activist and blogger Hala El-Masry, also known as Hala Helmy Botros, was reportedly arrested in Qena governorate over the weekend following alleged harassment by state security. El-Masry maintains that the harassment is directly related to a report on religious freedom in Egypt issued by the US Congress in which there is …

Alexandra Sandels

Verdict on controversial website trial set for early December

CAIRO: A state council court adjourned on Saturday the case brought against 51 Egyptian websites belonging to human rights organizations and outspoken bloggers by Alexandria head judge Abdel Fattah Mourad on the grounds that they “harm Egypt’s reputation. The court is to deliver its decision in the case on Dec. 8, reported the Arabic Network …

Alexandra Sandels

Student activists form group to spur usage of Arabic Wikipedia

CAIRO: When in need of quick and brief information on a topic, many of us tend to say “I’ll just look it up on Wikipedia. A few strokes on your keyboard and you’ll find information on pretty much any and every topic from the giant online editable encyclopedia. However, while Wikipedia supposedly features more than …

Alexandra Sandels

Coptic officials lash out at American conference on Coptic issues

CAIRO: Coptic officials in Egypt condemned the holding of an International Coptic conference in the United States on the situation of Copts in Egypt and the rest of the world stressing that “the issues of Copts should be solved within Egypt and not outside the country. “The Copts in Egypt face many problems in their …

Alexandra Sandels

Egypt receives low ranking in annual press freedom index

CAIRO: Egypt came in at the bottom of the rankings in this year’s World Press Freedom Index, an annual rating published by Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) measuring the level of press freedom around the world. Coming in at number 146 out of 169 countries evaluated, Egypt dropped 13 spots from number 133 last year. …

Alexandra Sandels

Brotherhood members clash with security during Eid prayers

CAIRO: The first day of Eid witnessed severe clashes between central security forces and the Muslim Brotherhood in Al Salhiya village near Sharqeya as a large number of members of the banned group gathered in a public place to hold the Eid Al Fitr prayer on Saturday. Several people were reportedly injured in the commotion …

Alexandra Sandels

Worldwide protests to mark anniversary of imprisoned student blogger

CAIRO: As the one year anniversary of the detainment of student blogger Kareem Amer approaches, activists of the online campaign Free Kareem Coalition are preparing for a day of worldwide protests in early November in support of the imprisoned cyber dissident. The anniversary campaign entitled “One Year is Enough has confirmed demonstrations outside the Egyptian …

Alexandra Sandels

Skepticism surrounds American Islamic Congress's opening in Cairo

CAIRO: Only a few days after its official opening in Egypt, nonprofit organization American Islamic Congress (AIC) and its country director were accused of running the errands of the Bush administration and “bringing home the American conspiracy and foreign policy, according to the organization s Cairo Director Dalia Ziada. AIC opened its doors in Cairo …

Alexandra Sandels

Sheikh sues prominent rights organization for libel, defamation

CAIRO: Sheikh Youssef El Badry filed a lawsuit against the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (HRInfo), accusing the organization of defamation and libel for supporting poet Ahmed Abdel Moeti Higazy. The conservative cleric is reportedly demanding LE 1 million in compensation from the human rights organization. Higazy was convicted in July of insulting El …

Alexandra Sandels

European Fatwa Council to issue fatwa against Al-Qaeda death threat against cartoonist, editor under police protection

CAIRO/STOCKHOLM: Dublin-based European Fatwa Council will issue a fatwa against a death threat allegedly made by the Iraqi Al-Qaeda-affiliate Sheikh Abu Omar Al-Baghdadi against Lars Vilks and Ulf Johansson, the organization said on Monday. Appearing on the internet, the death threat put a bounty on the head of Vilks, the artist behind the recent controversial …

Alexandra Sandels

Rights movement of American Islamic Congress opens Cairo office

CAIRO: In conjunction with the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the American Islamic Congress (AIC) opened an office in Cairo on Tuesday in the hopes of heightening awareness of civil rights and fostering nonviolence in Egypt and the rest of the Arab world. The initiative is spearheaded by Hamsa (Hands Across the Middle …

Alexandra Sandels

EOHR report condemns "continuous violations of human rights" in Egypt

CAIRO: National rights group Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) released on Tuesday its 17th annual report on the state of human rights in Egypt, emphasizing “continuous violations of basic human rights and citing a deteriorating state of the right to life, personal safety, and freedom of expression. The report is divided into three different …

Alexandra Sandels

Bin Laden releases new video on six-year anniversary of 9/11

CAIRO: A new audiotape featuring a 14-minute speech by Osama Bin Laden in praise of one of the Sept. 11 hijackers was released on Tuesday to mark the six-year anniversary of the attack on the US. The 47-minute long recording entitled “The Wills of the Heroes of the Raids on New York and Washington, The …

Alexandra Sandels

New anti-torture movement holds first public meeting

CAIRO: Newly formed anti-torture group “Egyptians Against Torture held its first public meeting at the Press Syndicate Sunday night, calling for heightened public activism against systematic torture allegedly practiced by Egyptian authorities. During the past year, numerous chilling videos and mobile phone footage showing victims being tortured, beaten, and sexually assaulted in Egyptian police stations …

Alexandra Sandels

Russia launches worldwide Arabic TV channel

CAIRO: In an effort to provide Arab living rooms around the world with insight into Russian international and domestic affairs, Russian TV is launching the Arabic TV channel; Rusiya Al-Yaum or “Russia Today. Broadcasting from Moscow, the channel delivers news on Russian-Arab relations and Russia’s role in world politics 20 hours a day, to a …

Alexandra Sandels

Swedish cartoon reopens debate on freedom of expression

STOCKHOLM/CAIRO: Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt met on Friday with ambassadors from 20 Arab countries to engage in a dialogue on a cartoon deemed offensive to Islam. The caricatures of the Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) depicted as a roundabout dog in the Swedish newspaper Nerikes Allehanda in August have garnered much attention inside and outside Sweden. …

Alexandra Sandels

Egyptian blogger wins prestigious international journalism award

NEW YORK: Egyptian blogger Wael Abbas has been awarded the 2007 Knight International Award for Civic Journalism by the Washington-based nonprofit International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), the organization stated in a recent press release. The award, which is funded the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, recognizes individuals who have “raised the standards of …

Alexandra Sandels

The Quran in cyberspace with Swedish help

STOCKHOLM, Sweden: Few people would associate Stockholm, the capital of the secular northern European kingdom Sweden, known for Ikea, ABBAand herrings, with the Muslim faith until today. As the base for a groundbreaking new project tailored to connecting tech-savvy Muslims around the world, the Quran will, forever be linked with Sweden on the information superhighway. …

Alexandra Sandels

Arab and Chinese activists campaign to release 'cyber dissidents'

CAIRO: Arab and Chinese youth activists will be joining forces in a new Internet campaign calling for the release of imprisoned Chinese bloggers and demanding greater freedom of expression in China. The campaign “New Youth 4 received its name after the case of the four young Chinese activists Jin Haike, Xu Wei, Yang Zili and …

Alexandra Sandels

New twists in case against 51 websites

CAIRO: Cairo-based rights group the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (HRInfo) reported Wednesday on new twists in the complex case of Alexandria Head Judge Abdel Fattah Mourad. Mourad is demanding the shutdown of 51 Egyptian websites belonging to human rights groups and outspoken bloggers on the basis that they “tarnish Egypt’s reputation. Since its …

Alexandra Sandels

Brotherhood and opposition bloggers join forces for online press freedom

CAIRO: Bloggers and activists from belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood and the political opposition joined forces at a rally and conference on the defense of electronic press freedom in Egypt at the Press Syndicate in Downtown Cairo on Wednesday night. Armed with banners, megaphones, and Egyptian flags chanting slogans like “we are forbidden to speak …

Alexandra Sandels