Alexandra Sandels

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Latest by Alexandra Sandels


Alex fills up with UN execs, international VIPs for regional conference on disaster relief management

ALEXANDRIA: As local Alexandrians peacefully strolled along the Corniche nibbling on cotton candy and soaking in the fresh Mediterranean breeze, a field of well-polished black Mercedes with tinted windows screeched to a halt outside the Sheraton Hotel Montazah in Alexandria on Saturday morning to deliver speakers and international VIPs to the inauguration of a high-level …

Alexandra Sandels

State security raids home, detains Brotherhood blogger

CAIRO/ALEXANDRIA: State security officials raided both the family home and personal residence of prominent Muslim Brotherhood (MB) blogger Abdel Moneim Mahmoud early Friday morning and subsequently detained the activist late on Saturday night, said Egyptian human rights activists. Mahmoud was not present during the raids because he was allegedly in hiding from the authorities during …

Alexandra Sandels

Amnesty International criticizes constitutional amendments and proposed anti-terrorism law

CAIRO: Reputable rights organization Amnesty International criticized the Egyptian government in a press conference on Wednesday, stressing that the recent controversial amendments to the constitution and the planned new anti-terrorism law severely undermine human rights conditions in the country. “The Egyptian authorities are committing systematic human rights abuses in the name of national security. The …

Alexandra Sandels

Muslim Brotherhood web site blocked by authorities, group says

CAIRO: For the fourth time in a year, the Muslim Brotherhood’s official English webpage, Ikhwanweb.com, was blocked and inaccessible to Internet users in Egypt last week. The Brotherhood calls it “yet another demonstration of repressive practices against the opposition . “The blocking of our web site by the Egyptian [government] proves that this fascist and …

Alexandra Sandels

Abu Omar pays surprise visit to torture forum

CAIRO: Former ghost detainee Abu Omar paid a surprise visit on Friday to a conference organized by the 3rd Cairo Social Forum where he recounted his personal experiences of torture and abuse during his imprisonment. “I was kidnapped on an open street in Milan and forced into a van. They covered my face with black …

Alexandra Sandels

Beirut is still the 'pearl of the Middle East'

Beirut, Friday night, 9 pm. Hordes of the city’s young party elite wading through the mushroom of tents occupied by various anti-government groups and Hezbollah supporters in the city center. “I know it s crazy. Here we are going out clubbing in the midst of all this political unrest going on in our country. But …

Alexandra Sandels

Hearing in lawsuit against 21 Egyptian websites postponed

CAIRO: The Administrative Court in Cairo decided Tuesday to move hearings into lawsuit calling for the banning of 21 blogs to the Sixth District Court. Head Judge of the Alexandria Court of Appeals, Abdel Fattah Mourad, had filed a lawsuit early March calling for the banning of 21 blogs and websites charging that they “tarnish …

Alexandra Sandels

Referendum day marked by tightly controlled protests

CAIRO: Human rights and pro-democracy activists from the political opposition staged a day of protests in Downtown Cairo to coincide with the national referendum on amending the constitution. Forty demonstrators from the Kefaya National Movement for Change were held on the steps of the press syndicate since beginning their protest last night at 6 pm. …

Alexandra Sandels

Demonstrators beaten at protest

CAIRO: A Downtown demonstration against controversial amendments to the constitution was suppressed in a violent crackdown on Sunday, as hundreds of state security riot police and thugs under their command beat and detained a crowd of several hundred pro-democracy activists and journalists. Among those assaulted was 20-year old political activist Salma Said who was beaten …

Alexandra Sandels

Constitutional amendments to spark worldwide protests on referendum day

CAIRO: As the People’s Assembly approved a long list of controversial amendments to the constitution last Monday, activists around the world have been busy organizing protests. Protestors, including an anti-Mubarak group who will demonstrate under the slogan ‘Goodbye Mubarak’ plan to take a stand outside Egyptian embassies in New York, Washington, and London on Monday …

Alexandra Sandels

Kefaya to hold second protest against proposed constitutional amendments

CAIRO: Kefaya movement is urging civil society and activists to join opposition-affiliated members of the parliament at sit-in today at 3 pm to protest the constitutional amendments. During Sunday’s parliamentary discussions of the amendments, in preparation of a nation-wide referendum on April 4, opposition MPs left the session in protest. Activists and opposition say the …

Alexandra Sandels

Egyptian bloggers set for anti-torture campaign

CAIRO: Amid increased crackdowns on Internet dissidence and the dissemination of disturbing videos alleging police torture, several activists, bloggers, human rights lawyers, and journalists are calling for an anti-torture campaign. At a four-hour meeting at the offices of the Association for Human Rights Legal Aid on Saturday the activists mapped out a strategy for the …

Alexandra Sandels

Arrested activists released from El Dhaher police station

CAIRO: Feelings were high among the large group of activists and journalists gathered outside El Dhaher police station on Saturday night, awaiting the release of the 21 activists arrested during Thursday night’s Kefaya protest in Downtown Cairo. “We have been waiting here patiently since yesterday when we found out that the General Prosecutor ordered the …

Alexandra Sandels

Tales from the Israeli border: experiences of a khavaga journalist

CAIRO: As I stood in line at a checkpoint on the Israeli-Jordanian border decked out with a passport full of Syrian stamps, a book on Al Qaeda’s networks in Africa, and a camera full of pictures of Hezbollah supporters occupying downtown Beirut, I realized that crossing over as a Middle Eastern journalist could be a …

Alexandra Sandels

Alex court rejects appeal of student blogger, confirms prison sentence

ALEXANDRIA: The Higher Court of Appeals in Alexandria rejected on Monday the appeal of blogger Abdel Karim Suleiman Amer, a 21-year old university student sentenced to four years in prison last month for defaming Islam and President Mubarak on his Internet blog. This verdict was not handed down in a lawful manner and goes against …

Alexandra Sandels

Journalists injured by Israeli stun grenades in West Bank city of Ramallah

RAMALLAH/JERUSALEM: Two journalists en route to cover a demonstration marking International Women’s Day were injured by stun grenades at an Israeli military checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah on Wednesday morning. According to the press freedom group Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Israeli police reportedly fired at and injured Rami Al-Faqih, a correspondent at the local …

Alexandra Sandels

Istanbul: A real Turkish Delight

An exotic mix of Europe, the Balkans and the Middle East, Istanbul, the only city in the world situated on two continents, has grown to be a leading cosmopolitan hub for arts, culture and religion as well as a hot spot for international jetsetters. Whether you are spending 24 hours or five days in the …

Alexandra Sandels

Mascara girl band takes the metal/rock music scene by storm

A unique mix of metal, electronic jazz and classical tunes Curious to find out what Egyptian rock jazz with occasional traces of heavy metal sounds like? Consider venturing out to Mascara s next concert at the Hands Center in Alexandria on March 16 to enjoy the tunes of one of Egypt s only female metal/rock …

Alexandra Sandels

Trial of policemen accused of torturing microbus driver to start Saturday

CAIRO: The trial of a police officers Islam Nabih and Reda Fathi, accused of detaining, torturing and sodomizing 21-year-old microbus driver Emad Al-Kabir in January 2006, is scheduled to start on Saturday, March 3. Denied bail, the two policemen have reportedly been detained in a Central Security Forces camp since Jan. 2007 awaiting their trial. …

Alexandra Sandels

Student blogger receives four year prison sentence

CAIRO: Egyptian blogger Abdel Kareem Soliman Amer, better known by his blog alias ‘Kareem Amer’, was sentenced to four years in prison for defaming Islam and President Hosni Mubarak on his Internet blog by a court in Alexandria Thursday. According to Amer’s lawyer Ahmed Saif, the former Al-Azhar University student received a sentence of three …

Alexandra Sandels

Jailed student blogger faces threats as final trial approaches

CAIRO: Facing a prison sentence of up to 11 years for his controversial Internet writings on Islam and President Mubarak, Egyptian student blogger Abdelkarim Soliman Amer, also known as “Kareem Amer’, has reportedly received death threats from strangers as well as member of his own family. In conjunction with the final court ruling in the …

Alexandra Sandels

Indie music lovers flood to SOS Concert

Despite bad weather, thousands of Cairo music fans gathered at the third SOS Concert on Friday at the Cairo International Conference Center to root for their favorite bands. “We have been here since the doors opened at two in the afternoon. We love the music at these concerts. I’d come here even if it was …

Alexandra Sandels

Alexandria judge violated IPR laws, allege civil society groups

CAIRO: Judge Abdul Fatah Mourad, head of the Court of Appeals in Alexandria, allegedly violated Intellectual Property Rights law, claim local civil society groups in. In his recently-released book titled “Scientific and Legal Principles of Blogs , he included more than 50 pages from a report on Internet blogging issued by a well-known Egyptian human …

Alexandra Sandels

Violence plagues religious protest at Al-Azhar mosque

CAIRO: Violent fights broke out between police and demonstrators on Friday early afternoon when a large crowd of protestors gathered at Al-Azhar mosque to voice their anger against Israeli excavations they fear could damage the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem. Prevented from entering the mosque surrounded by a field of state security and police officers …

Alexandra Sandels

SOS Concert expected to attract thousands of music lovers tonight

Thousands of music fans of all ages will enjoy the tunes of an eclectic mix of musicians at the third SOS Music Festival tonight, held at the Chinese Garden of the Cairo International Conference Center. A lineup of eight bands will perform from early afternoon till midnight, presenting a wide range of music genres ranging …

Alexandra Sandels

A roundup of the buzz on the Egyptian blogosphere

CAIRO: As activists and international civil rights groups condemn the deteriorating state of press freedom in Egypt, more Egyptians seem to drink their morning coffee reading the Egyptian blogs instead of flipping through the newspaper. It would never occur to me to buy the morning paper to find out what is going on in this …

Alexandra Sandels

Media watchdog cites dangerous year for journalists in annual report

CAIRO: The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) voiced grave concerns over the high numbers of journalists killed and violated last year in its annual report presented at a press conference at Cairo s Journalists Syndicate Monday. The report, titled ‘Attacks on the Press, documents killings and gross violations of journalists worldwide. “Targeted assassinations …

Alexandra Sandels

Political activists tread carefully in Egypt, Bahrain

CAIRO: The recent arrests of Egyptian and regional bloggers have highlighted the pressures political activists in the Middle East have come under in the past several years. The trial of blogger Abdel Kareem Soliman Amer, currently incarcerated in Alexandria and awaiting trial for allegedly slandering and defaming both the government and Islam, has also gained …

Alexandra Sandels

Starbucks brings authentic Yankee coffee shop feeling to Cairo

Walking into the brand new Starbucks shop in City Center, Nasr City, you may as well be entering the Starbucks branch at Union Square in New York City or at Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles. This place is not Egypt. Soothing tunes from the Dave Matthews Band, a popular music group from Seattle where …

Alexandra Sandels

UN agencies raised human rights awareness through photo exhibit

CAIRO: The United Nations, and its various agencies, is known to routinely raise issues of social, economic and political importance and bring to the fore the plight of global impoverishment, displacement and disease. A photo exhibit – a joint project between the World Food Program, Unicef, and the UN Information Center in Cairo to highlight …

Alexandra Sandels