Alexandra Sandels

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Latest by Alexandra Sandels


Chaos at student blogger trial, judge adjourns session

CAIRO: The trial of blogger Kareem Amer, a former Al-Azhar University student who is currently standing trial for his controversial writings on Islam and President Hosni Mubarak, was adjourned for the second time on Thursday due to a verbal tussle between the prosecution and the defense. The trial has been postponed until Feb. 22 when …

Alexandra Sandels

Activists to protest in New York in support of jailed blogger

CAIRO: A group of human rights activists are organizing a protest in front of the Egyptian mission in New York City on Wednesday afternoon, Jan. 31 in support of the imprisoned Egyptian student blogger Abdel Kareem Amer. “We are joining together in solidarity for a peaceful protest against the Egyptian government’s treatment of Kareem, and …

Alexandra Sandels

Whistleblowers now offered an outlet in private – the Wiki way

CAIRO: Imagine being a government worker in a repressive regime and getting your hands on classified memos that depict the ugly truth about your national authorities. How do you leak the valuable information without being subject to either long jail sentences or torture? Oppressive government regimes might be meeting their maker online when Wikileaks.org, a …

Alexandra Sandels

Kefaya holds demonstration against high commodity prices in memory of 1977 'Bread Intifada'

CAIRO: Surrounded by a field of state security and curious locals, Kefaya activists held a demonstration outside Sayeda Zeinab mosque, marking the 30th anniversary of the 1977 Bread Intifada, which erupted in protest of the exponential price increases of basic commodities, such as bread and vegetables. Everything is expensive these days. People don’t find anything …

Alexandra Sandels

Student blogger moved to solitary confinement awaiting postponed trial

Cairo: The trial of Abdel Karim Soliman Amer, a student blogger accused of “incitement to hate Islam because of his controversial online writings on religion, was postponed Thursday due to persistent requests from the defense. “Yes, that is correct. The defense has requested the trial to be postponed until Jan. 25 to further review case …

Alexandra Sandels

Student blogger trial to start in Alexandria court today

ALEXANDRIA: The trial of student blogger Abdel Karim Soliman Amer who has been detained by state security since November because of his controversial writings on Islam is scheduled to start today in Moharram Beik Court in Alexandria. A former student of Al-Azhar University, Amer, 22 is currently detained in Al-Hadra prison in Alexandria of spreading …

Alexandra Sandels

Civil society calls for new laws to protect freedom of expression online

CAIRO: Facing a “deteriorating state of civil society in the Arab world and a growing number of arrests of bloggers and intern activists, journalists and representatives from civil society organizations are now calling upon Arab governments to enact new regulations for online information exchange. The proposed new regulations would criminalize email spying and sharing of …

Alexandra Sandels

2006, year of crackdowns on blogging

CAIRO: Blogger arrested for spreading malicious rumors , “Rights groups say government is limiting Internet freedom , and Activists argue deteriorating state of civil society in Arab nations . Headlines like the above have become common features in both national and international mass-media. 2006 has arguably witnessed enhanced intimidation of civil society activists in Egypt …

Alexandra Sandels

SUV giants in Cairo's narrow streets

The trend of driving Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and large super performance cars, a phenomenon that has plagued Europe for the past year, seems to finally have reached the streets of Cairo. On a small street in Zamalek, the driver of a Hummer, under heavy complaints from his date, is desperately trying to park the …

Alexandra Sandels

Is Kefaya tearing apart?

CAIRO: When Kefaya, The Egyptian Movement for Change, kicked off its first pro-reform demonstration in December 2004 then continued to agitate throughout 2005, it was lauded as the cure to the political apathy of the Egyptian street; a long over-due shot in the arm to rally the masses and end the decades of political stagnation. …

Alexandra Sandels

Kefaya activists united in divided locations at anti-government protest

A field of Kefaya activists shouting slogans such as “We want a clean government , and “Down with Mubarak, the thief gathered outside the Lawyers’ Syndicate and on the steps of the Press Syndicate in Downtown Cairo for an anti-government protest to mark the movement’s second anniversary on Tuesday. Due to a police blockade and …

Alexandra Sandels

Christmas comes to Cairo Euro-style

CAIRO: The scents of Swiss cheese raclette, Scandinavian mull wine, and Belgian waffles welcomed more than a thousand visitors eager to enjoy the festivities at the 12th Annual European Christmas Bazaar at the Nile Hilton Hotel Garden on Sunday morning. More than 20 participating European countries offered a wide variety of ethnic European Christmas food …

Alexandra Sandels

Sexual harassment needs to be addressed by authorities

CAIRO: While sexual harassment in Egypt, particularly Cairo, was widely reported in the media in recent weeks, very little on the topic has been heard from the authorities, said participants at the Sexual Harassment Forum organized by the American University in Cairo’s (AUC) Cynthia Nelson Institute for Gender and Women’s Studies on Monday. On Oct. …

Alexandra Sandels

UN's WFP positively impacting Egypt

CAIRO: A delegation of executive board members from the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) headquarters in Rome spent a week in Egypt to evaluate the aid agency’s projects in some of the country’s poorest regions. The delegation, consisting of board members from a wide range of donor countries, including the US, Canada, China, and …

Alexandra Sandels

High security, few protestors at second planned garbage march

CAIRO: Security and plainclothes police officers in full armor barricaded Al-Mattariya square on Sunday afternoon as Kefaya activists reportedly were planning to hold a second garbage march to protest the governor’s decree to add garbage collection fees to electricity bills Only a small number of activists turned up for the march due to the high …

Alexandra Sandels

Activists argue 'deteriorating state' of civil society in Arab nations

Seminar participants advocate revision of oppressive laws throughout the region CAIRO: The Association of Freedom of Thoughts and Expression presented a two-day seminar at the Development Support Center in Cairo to discuss and debate the deteriorating state of freedom of civil society organizations in the Arab region. Political analysts, activists, and members of various political …

Alexandra Sandels

Save Our Souls concert provides young Cairo with musical soul food

CAIRO: Fifteen thousand Cairean teenagers sporting the newest model of name brand sneakers, sunglasses, and designer jeans poured into the Chinese Garden at the Cairo International Conference Center to see their favorite bands perform at the Vodafone-sponsored Save Our Souls Music Concert (SOS). I am here to see Jaffa Phonix. They totally rock. I am …

Alexandra Sandels

"No women allowed at work without the veil," chant Azhar students

Nearly 300 male students at Al-Azhar University angrily protested against what they considered to be anti-veil remarks made by Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni. Chanting slogans such as, “The veil is a religious obligation, and holding signs reading, “No women at work without veil, the students insisted the hijab headscarf is a symbol of a …

Alexandra Sandels

Children gunned down at UN School in Gaza

CAIRO: Two schoolchildren were shot and wounded by snipers at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Beit Lahia Elementary School in the northern Gaza Strip on Saturday, according to a press release issued by the agency. Seven-year-old schoolboy Ahmed Isam Abdel-Aziz was struck by a bullet …

Alexandra Sandels

Protest in response to Beit Hanoun killings called off after security threats

CAIRO: A protest planned by Kefaya, the Revolutionary Socialists, and the Muslim Brotherhood in response to the recent killings of Palestinian women and children in Beit Hanoun was called off on Thursday due to intimidation and alleged threats from security, organizers said. A field of police and security officers in plainclothes surrounded the small group …

Alexandra Sandels

Giza garbage protest goes ahead without leader

Activist allegedly detained by authorities in attempt to stop protest march CAIRO: A group of around 40 people chanting the slogan, No money for trash that is not taken away from our houses, marched from Giza Square to the governorate building to protest the governor’s decree to add garbage collection fees to electricity bills. Why …

Alexandra Sandels

Human rights groups condemn extended detainment of student blogger

More than 14 human rights organizations have condemned the decision of the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Alexandria to extend the detention of student blogger Kareem Amer for an additional 15 days pending further investigation into his online writings in which he reportedly criticizes Islam. In a press release issued on Nov. 11, the organizations called …

Alexandra Sandels

Religious discrimination against Egypt's Christians debated at seminar

CAIRO: Christian activists, representatives from the Muslim Brotherhood, social researchers, and official spokesmen for the Center for Socialist Studies gathered last week to debate whether the rise of political Islam in Egypt has triggered a sectarian polarization of religious groups. The meeting also addressed whether Christians are the only religious minority facing discrimination, and how …

Alexandra Sandels

European cultural centers celebrate "European Day of Languages" in Cairo

The British Council, the Goethe Institute in Cairo, the French Center for Culture and Cooperation, the Spanish Cultural Center (Cervantes) and the Italian Cultural Center held a ceremony in celebration of the European Day of Languages at the Spanish Cultural Center in Giza on Wednesday night. The European Day of Languages is a new joint …

Alexandra Sandels

African Human Rights Charter needs improvements

Members of the African Human Rights Protection System said their charter needs to be modified to better serve the African people at a conference held in commemoration of the organization’s 25th anniversary on Monday. The conference which was organized by the Law Department of the American University in Cairo and several international human rights organizations, …

Alexandra Sandels

Student blogger arrested for "spreading malicious rumors"

Abdel Karim Suliman Amer, also known as Kareem Amer, a student blogger, was detained Monday by state authorities and is being held in custody for four days awaiting prosecution for his secular online writings in which he criticizes Islam, his lawyer told The Daily Star Egypt. Freedom of expression is a basic human right. We …

Alexandra Sandels

New public movement against religious discrimination established

Political rights activists rally public support for protection of religious minorities CAIRO: Following the mob attacks on Alexandria’s St. George’s Coptic Church last year, Dr. Mounir Megahed, general manager of feasibility studies at the Nuclear Power Plants Authority and a few of his colleagues decided to take action against attacks on religious minorities in Egypt. …

Alexandra Sandels

Palestinian-Jordanians still discriminated against, research shows

‘Stateless’ face strict preconditions for receiving UN relief funds CAIRO: While Jordan may be considered one of the leading destinations for asylum-seeking Palestinian refugees in comparison to other Arab states such as Lebanon and Syria, Palestinian-Jordanians still face extensive socio-economic discrimination in the Hashemite kingdom, research fellow Gudrun Kroner said. According to statistics from the …

Alexandra Sandels