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Cablegate: Alexandrian Blogger Sentenced to Four Years

VZCZCXRO4725
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHKUK RUEHROV
DE RUEHEG #0489 0531406
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 221406Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3737
INFO RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS CAIRO 000489

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

NSC FOR WATERS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KIRF EG
SUBJECT: ALEXANDRIAN BLOGGER SENTENCED TO FOUR YEARS

REF: CAIRO 198

Sensitive but unclassified. Please protect accordingly.

1. (SBU) Egyptian blogger Abdel Karim Nabil Soliman was found
guilty and sentenced to a total of four years in prison on
February 22 at an Alexandria court hearing. He received a
3-year sentence for "inciting hatred of Islam and insulting
the Prophet Mohamed," and 1-year sentence for "defaming the
President of the Republic." His lawyers tell us they plan to
appeal the decision to a higher court, and that they will
file the initial appeal paperwork on February 25. According
to reports in the Egyptian press, Abdel Karim's father has
publicly disowned his son, criticizing him for "imitating the
West," and disparaging civil society and human rights
associations "who are trying to acquit my son, as they are
trying to pressure the court." Background on the case
reported reftel.

2. (SBU) We recommend the following press guidance, to be
used on an only if asked basis:

-- We are extremely concerned by the conviction and
sentencing to imprisonment of Mr. Abdel Karim for expressing
his opinions.

-- We do not follow the blog. Some of the content may indeed
be offensive. We do not endorse or condone offensive
content. However, the role of freedom of expression is
critical in a democratic and prosperous society.


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