James Love (by way of Felix Stalder) on Thu, 29 Nov 2001 23:13:42 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Egyptian new internet police and post of a poem

[Originally to: <random-bits@lists.essential.org>]

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [Hague-jur-commercial-law] Egyptian new internet police and
post of a poem
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2001 15:08:26 -0500
From: Manon Ress <mress@essential.org>
Organization: Essential Information
To: haguelist <Hague-jur-commercial-law@lists.essential.org>


Poet's son held by 'web' police in Egypt

CAIRO, November 26 -- Egyptian police have arrested the son of a poet
and playwright who posted his father's unpublished and allegedly obscene
magnum opus on the web, his lawyer said on Sunday.

The case indicates that a newly-formed internet police unit is now
hunting the web for alleged crimes, and represents a test case for
freedom of expression, says lawyer Hafez Abu Saada.

Shohdy Naguib was arrested on Thursday night on charges of "distributing
immoral materials" for having published his father's poem on a server
outside of Egypt, Abu Saada says.

The prosecutor ordered on Sunday Naguib's release on bail, Abu Saada
said, but not before the police had transferred him between numerous
police stations.

The poem in question, which is still posted on the web, is often
referred to as the "Ummiyat" (roughly, "Mother Verses").

The poem uses highly graphic language, and has been described by one
critic as "a direct and forceful stream of abuse, invective and
lyricism" aimed at Egyptian officialdom, whom Surur blames for losing
the 1967 war against Israel and other failings.

Surur, whom many Egyptian critics consider to be a troubled poetic and
theatrical genius, died in 1978. Although the Ummiyat was never
published in his lifetime, it has been available on-line for at least
three years.

Naguib could not be reached for comment.

The case represents the first prosecution related to allegedly obscene
materials posted on a non-Egyptian web server, Abu Saada says.

"The case is strange. If (Naguib) distributed it, he distributed it
outside of Egypt," the lawyer said.

An Egyptian gay website is also claiming that Egyptian security is
monitoring those who visit it, and Egyptian gays have claimed that
officers set up sting operations via the web by setting up false dates
on gay chat sites.

Twenty-three allegedly gay men were handed prison sentences by a Cairo
court on 14 November for "habitual debauchery" and other charges. -

Manon Anne Ress
mress@essential.org, voice: 1.202.387.8030
Hague-jur-commercial-law mailing list
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