Thursday, November 18, 2010

EGYPT: Mubarak’s Critics See Hypocrisy in U.S. Support

  By William Fisher, Inter Press Service

NEW YORK, Nov 15, 2010 (IPS) – The Egyptian government’s crackdown on political opponents continues unabated in advance of parliamentary elections Nov. 28, even as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week hailed the “partnership” between the two countries as “a cornerstone of stability and security in the Middle East and beyond”.

In the latest example of a widespread campaign of media repression, Kareem Nabil, an Egyptian blogger who completed a four-year prison term, was still being detained and beaten at the State Security Intelligence (SSI) headquarters in Alexandria by security officers, according to the New York- based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information.

Nabil had been released from Burj al-Arab Prison on Nov. 6. He was subsequently re-arrested by security officers in Alexandria without charges.
A student at Cairo’s state-run religious university, Al- Azhar, Nabil was convicted in 2006 by an Alexandria court of insulting Islam and President Hosni Mubarak, who he called a dictator.

Nabil’s re-arrest was seen by human rights activists as, in the words of an unnamed opposition figure, “another nail in the coffin of Egyptian democracy”.
The government’s efforts to stifle opposition to the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) have included firing an influential newspaper editor, revoking the licenses of TV channels, arresting bloggers, changing the rules governing political slogans, and fabricating infractions to disqualify opposition candidates from running.

As the government’s campaign continued, Clinton hosted a Nov. 10 visit by Egypt’s foreign minister, Aboul Gheit, and Egypt’s intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman. Gheit confirmed that he and Clinton did not discuss the forthcoming election.

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