CAIRO: The six-month prison sentence and LE 500 fine of an Egyptian blogger convicted in absentia of “tampering with an internet cable has been upheld.
Lawyers from the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) say that they will appeal the sentence handed down to Wael Abbas, owner of the “Misr Digital blog, in November 2009.
The charges relate to an altercation between Abbas and his neighbor, Ahmed Maher Aglan in April 2009. Abbas had granted Aglan access to his internet subscription via a cable, a common practice in Egypt.
Abbas writes on his blog that on the morning of April 9, 2009, Aglan telephoned Abbas requesting that they check the internet because it was not working. Abbas found that there was nothing wrong with internet and “went back to sleep. Aglan then allegedly telephoned him again and verbally abused him, prompting Abbas to hang up.
Aglan and his brother Ashraf Maher Aglan, a police officer, reportedly arrived at Abbas’ home and physically assaulted him, leading to a broken tooth and bruising.
Investigation into the physical assault complaint filed by Abbas against the Aglans was shelved “for insufficient evidence, according to ANHRI. Abbas meanwhile discovered that he had been found guilty in absentia pursuant to a complaint filed by the Aglans.
Abbas is an outspoken critic of the government who has posted several videos on his blog showing police torture.
“It is known that Abbas has become the favorite target for frequent harassment by Egyptian security, ANHRI says in a press statement released Thursday.
“He has been arrested more than once at Cairo airport. He has been prevented from traveling and his computer has been illegally seized. Today’s ruling completes this set of violations, the statement continues.
While Abbas was initially uncertain whether the case filed by the Aglans had a political dimension, he told Daily News Egypt that he now has “no doubt that the conviction is linked to his activism.
“They [the government] found themselves with the opportunity to imprison me on a non-political charge, without embarrassment for them, Abbas said.