Abdel Kareem Nabil, a 22-year-old former student at Egypt’s Al-Azhar University, had been a vocal secularist and sharp critic of conservative Muslims in his blog. He often lashed out at Al-Azhar _ the most prominent religious center in Sunni Islam _ calling it “the university of terrorism” and accusing it of encouraging extremism.
Nabil’s lawyer, Ahmed Seif el-Islam, said he would appeal the verdict, adding it will “terrify other bloggers and have a negative impact on freedom of expression in Egypt.” Nabil had faced a possible maximum sentence of nine years in prison.
Reporters Without Boarders has condemned his sentence:
Reporters Without Borders strongly condemned the four-year prison sentence imposed today by a court in Alexandria on Abdel Kareem Nabil Suleiman for â€œinciting hatred of Islamâ€ and insulting President Hosni Mubarak in his blog, for which he used the pseudonym of â€œKareem Amer.â€
â€œThis sentence is a disgrace,â€ the press freedom organisation said. â€œAlmost three years ago to the day, President Mubarak promised to abolish prison sentences for press offences. Suleimanâ€™s conviction and sentence is a message of intimidation to the rest of the Egyptian blogosphere, which had emerged in recent years as an effective bulwark against the regimeâ€™s authoritarian excesses.â€