Egypt: Blogger sentenced to four years in prison
An Egyptian blogger was convicted of insulting Islam and President Hosni Mubarak and sentenced to four years in prison on Thursday. Abdel Kareem Nabil, a 22-year-old former student at Egypt's Al-Azhar University, an Islamic institution, had pleaded innocent to all charges, the AP reported.
Nabil, who used the blogger name Kareem Amer, had criticized Al-Azhar on his Web log, calling it "the university of terrorism" and accusing it of suppressing free thought. He also often criticized Mubarak's regime on the blog.
The university threw him out last year and pressed prosecutors to put him on trial. Nabil has been in custody since November 2006 and his trial started on January 25.
The judge issued the verdict in a brief, five-minute session in a court in the city of Alexandria. He sentenced Nabil to three years in prison for insulting Islam and inciting sedition and another year for insulting Mubarak. Nabil had faced a possible maximum sentence of up to nine years in prison.
Hafiz Abou Saada, head of the Egyptian Human Rights Organization, described the verdict as "very tough." "This is a strong message to all bloggers who are put under strong surveillance that the punishment will very strong," he told the Associated Press.