Friday, February 15, 2013
Harsh Punishments for Downloading a Video in Egypt
Article Link: http://concernedscientists.org/2013/01/downloading-an-offensive-video-shouldnt-result-in-sentence-for-egyptian-blogger/
The article explains about the situation of an atheist man in Egypt named Alber Saber. Alber has been recently sentenced to three years in prison for downloading and blogging about a "blasphemous" video. The video offended many Muslim Egyptians because it talked about Mohammad in a negative manner. Because of this, Alber was unlawfully arrested and sentenced for merely exercising his natural right of freedom of speech. Alber's rights were infringed upon when the Egyptian police searched his property and when Muslim citizens threatened the security of his family members. His rights were further violated when he was assaulted in jail and when his Christian family was forced to leave their home due to inadequate protection.
This current event demonstrates the prevalent injustices that occur in Egypt today. When compared to the freedom of speech we have in America, it is surprising to hear how cautious people in Egypt have to be when downloading videos or posting their opinions online. While we have the freedom to say whatever we want, people in Egypt are restricted on what they can post. This is because opposing beliefs to the majority opinion of Egypt can ultimately lead to unfair punishment and danger to one's family. Additionally, Alber's situation emphasizes the widespread discrimination that still exists today. The persecution of Alber's Christian relatives, despite their lack of involvement with Alber's actions, demonstrates the discrimination against non-Muslim people and other minorities in Egypt. It is shocking to hear about all the harsh retributions upon Alber particularly when he did not do anything more than just expressing his thoughts and downloading a video. Alber's situation raises many serious questions about the state of human rights in Egypt, particularly involving the rights of freedom of speech, expression, security, and religion. Human rights organizations around the world are seeking amnesty for Alber. I would like to follow up on this story to see how the Egyptian government and its citizens react to such violations of natural human rights.