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Cablegate: Convicted Blogger and Torture Allegations

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHEG #3259 3181541
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 141541Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7452
INFO RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS CAIRO 003259

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

NSC FOR WATERS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO KDEM PHUM PGOV EG
SUBJECT: CONVICTED BLOGGER AND TORTURE ALLEGATIONS

REF: A. CAIRO 489
B. CAIRO 198

Sensitive but unclassified. Please protect accordingly.

1.(U) There have been a number of media reports that
imprisoned Egyptian blogger Abdel Karim Nabil Soliman is
being tortured in the Borg Al Arab prison in Alexandria,
where he is serving a four-year sentence following his
February 2007 conviction for "inciting hatred of Islam" and
"defaming the President of the Republic." (reftels).

2. (U) In a November 12 press release, the Arabic Network for
Human Rights Information reported that it, together with the
Hisham Mubarak Centre for Law, had sent a letter to the
Prosecutor General (Egypt's Attorney General equivalent),
alleging that Abdel Karim had been tortured "on the order and
under the supervision of an officer in Borg Al Arab prison"
and asking that the alleged torture be investigated. On
November 13, the blog "Sand Monkey" reported that Abdel Karim
had been beaten and threatened by other inmates, at the
direction of prison officials. Sand Monkey also reported that
Abdel Karim was placed in a disciplinary cell in shackles,
despite injuries received in the alleged beatings. The Cairo
newspaper "Nahdet Misr" also reported on some of the
allegations.

3. (SBU) After learning of the reports, we contacted Abdel
Karim's lawyer. He said the allegations of torture were
overstated. The lawyer reported, however, that Abdel Karim is
being segregated from other prisoners, allegedly for his
protection. The lawyer added that the segregation is
unnecessary and a form of harassment.
RICCIARDONE

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