US cables on blogger’s fight against police violence and judicial corruption

first_img February 22, 2011 – Updated on January 25, 2016 US cables on blogger’s fight against police violence and judicial corruption News Cable 09CAIRO243 Cable 10CAIRO135 Two leaked cables from the US embassy in Cairo concerning the well-known Egyptian blogger Wael Abbas have just been posted on the WikiLeaks website.The first, dated 10 February 2009, is about Abbas’ role in revealing a case of police brutality. It said that Abbas had posted a video on his blog, misrdigital.blogspirit.com, two days earlier that he had obtained from fellow-blogger Samih Al-Arusi. It showed two policemen in Cairo’s Ain Shams police station using a bottle to sodomize a naked man, Ahmed Abdel Fattah Ali.In his post, Abbas gave just gave the initials of the police officers, but another blogger identified them on 10 February as Bassem Ashraf and Mahmoud Sami. Abbas also posted a second video of the victim, showing him tied to the bars of his cell.According to the cable, the first video was recorded on a mobile phone that somehow came into possession of Arusi’s wife, who was detained in the same police station. The wife, who was herself beaten at the police station, had managed to send the video to Arusi. Abbas told the embassy he hoped the police would not abuse Arusi’s wife more for sending the video.After the videos were posted online, various human rights groups and lawyers got together to bring a prosecution against the two policemen. Abbas posted a similar video on his blog in 2007 that showed two policemen sodomizing a bus driver, Imad El Kebir. As a result of the resulting publicity, the two policemen in the El Kebir case were given three-year jail sentences, which is very rare in Egypt.The second cable, dated 28 January 2010, is about a Cairo court’s decision eight days earlier to uphold the six-month jail sentence previously passed on Abbas for purely political reasons on a charge of damaging a neighbour’s Internet line. Abbas was free on 80 dollars in bail pending an appeal. The neighbour and his brother (a police officer), had attacked Abbas, breaking one of his teeth, but were never charged with assault.According to the cable, Gamal Eid of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), an NGO that defends free speech and media freedom, had told the embassy that the penalty for damaging an Internet line would normally be a fine of less than 55 dollars but the case’s political dimension had resulted in a much heavier sentence.The cable suggested that it could be counter-productive for the United States to try to intercede as it could lead the judge to impose an ever harsher sentence in a show of defiance of US pressure. The comment highlights the complexity of international relations in areas concerning freedom of expression and corruption.The case against Abbas was subsequently dropped (read the article). Organisation center_img RSF_en Help by sharing this informationlast_img read more