Posts Tagged ‘Internet Freedom’

Blogger Hussein Ghrer Arrested

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Silence doesn’t serve us after today. We don’t want a country where we get imprisoned for uttering a word. We want a country that embraces and welcomes words.

This is the last thing Syrian blogger Hussein Ghrer demanded on his blog, and here we are today blogging with sadness on the news of Hussein’s detention, without knowing why, and where he is now.

Hussein is 30 years old, he is married and has two kids. He participated in several campaigns in solidarity with our Palestinian brothers during the Zionist invasion of Gaza and blogged about the war against Lebanon in 2006. He was well-known for his work with the Syrian Bloggers for the Occupied Golan and for his solidarity with the victims of “honor crimes” in the country.Fear of freedom and hatred against all liberties are responsible for Hussein’s detention. Words are Hussein’s weapons, and ours too. We want these weapons to break the silence. We command you to raise your voice for Hussein’s freedom and all prisoners of conscience in Syrian cells.

We demand the immediate disclosure of the fate of our friend and fellow blogger Hussein Ghrer and the immediate release of all prisoners of conscience, since their detention is against the law and universal human rights. We also demand the end of persecution against freedom of speech, because blind force, no matter how strong it is, will stay blind, and will stumble until it falls for good.

Campaign’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FreeHussein
Blog: www.freehussein.blogspot.com
Hashtag on twitter #FreeHussein.


Freedom for Ali Abdulemam

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Ali Abdulemam is the founder of the very popular forum BahrainOnline.org, and a Global Voices Advocacy author. He was arrested on September 4th after receiving an order to appear at a National Security facility. Bahrain News Agency (BNA) claimed[ar] he was arrested while attempting to flee the country.

Ali was arrested once before in 2005 for reasons related with his online activity. His arrest now is a part of a government crackdown on internet websites and forums in Bahrain. A day before Ali’s arrest the Bahrain Center for Human Rights published an urgent call for action[ar] reporting arrests of human rights activists, politicians, and religious figures. The plea included reports of severe torture and prisoner abuse. The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) have also reported on a massive campaign to block dozens of websites and persecute activists and political figures.

You can contact Bahraini officials to demand freedom for Ali and other activists by using the following contact info provided by Bahrain Centre for Human Rights:

Sheik Hamad Bin Issa Al Khalifa
King of Bahrain
Fax: +973 176 64 587

Sheik Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa
Prime Minister
Fax: +973 1753 2839

Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa
Foreign Minister
Phone: +973 172 27 555
Fax: +973 172 12 603

Sheik Khalid Bin Ali Al Khalifa
Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs
Phone: +973 175 31 333
Fax: +973 175 31 284

You can also directly contact the Foreign Minister on twitter @khalidalkhalifa


#NetFreedom in Syria, Between Sanctions and Censorship

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Free Syrian Internet - Image by Flickr user azraiman

A delegation of US tech companies and policymakers are visiting Syria today and holding a meeting with President Bashar Al Assad and high-ranking officials. The tech delegation (#techdel on Twitter, and “techdel” hereafter) came after coordination on high diplomatic levels and as a part of the Obama administration’s policy of engaging with Syria, according to William Burns, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.

A tweet by Alec Ross, the techdel’s leader, summed up the United States’ attitude towards the visit:

This trip to #Syria will test Syria’s willingness to engage more responsibly on issues of #netfreedom

Of course Net freedom is craved by Syrian users; Censorship is strict and many popular websites are blocked by the Syrian government (Facebook and YouTube to name a couple), and perceived cyber-dissidents have many a time received prison sentences ranging between 3-5 years in most cases. What the techdel seems oblivious to is how much the U.S. sanctions on Syria are complicit in further limiting internet freedoms for Syrian users. Jared Cohen, Member of Secretary Clinton’s Policy Planning Staff and a member of the delegation, tweeted:

Big gap between older & younger Syrians on challenges to business. Youth blame lack of education, not sanctions

Just to show how misguided that statement is, I’ll draw up a few comparisons between Syrian governmental censorship and U.S. imposed IT sanctions: Read the rest of this entry »