Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Alaa Campaign

There is now a Free Alaa blog with notes on his importance:
"Alaa and those arrested with him are now arrested for 15 days "pending investigation", which could be renewed indefinitely if the state so wishes. He and the men were sent to the infamous Torah Prison and the girls to the Qanatir prison for the duration. This makes them hardly safe, because stuff that goes on in Egyptian prisons on the hands of the jailors: beatings, sexual assaults, torture of all kinds.

"Currently there are about 48 detained, 6 of them are bloggers, and 3 of them are women. The best known is Alaa, which makes him the posterboy of this campaign - but getting them out is equally as important. Egypt has fewer than 830 bloggers all in all, 60 of whom are political and less than 30 are politically active. Now 6 of those are in jail - 20% of all politically active Egyptian bloggers - and amongst them one of Egypt's most highly profiled one.

"This is by no means a co-incidence. Government agents handpicked people to arrest from amongst the protesters. They have been wanting to get Alaa for a long time now, precisely because he is high profile, and because he helps organizes the protests and spread the information through the blog aggregator he runs (www.manalaa.net). With Alaa gone, Aggregator could shut down without his maintenance and other bloggers could get too scared to be active and find no way to organize or reach one other. It's of vital importance that he gets released ASAP.

"Alaa is a secular democracy activist, and a tireless advocate of freedom, free speech and human rights. He organizes demonstrations and engages in protests against all kinds of injustices in Egypt and is the winner of the international Best of the Blogs award from Reporters Without Borders last December."

They're calling for a googlebomb of the word Egypt directed to their web site. I remember that in 2005 the Kefaya activists were very concerned about being tied too closely to foreigners, but figure Sandmonkey knows what he's doing, and so comply.


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