Egyptian rights groups call for blogger’s release

Rights organizations in a joint statement on Wednesday reiterated their calls for President Hosni Muabrak to intervene for the release of a Facebook activist currently detained on charges of "disclosing defense secrets."

Reporters without Borders, the Arab Network for Human Rights Information and the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression urged President Mubarak "to exert his utmost to reverse the ruling, drop the charges against the blogger and release him as soon as possible."

A criminal court previously sentenced blogger Ahmed Bassiouni to six months in prison and fined him LE500.

Bassiouni was arrested after creating a Facebook group that informed young Egyptians set to serve in the military about documents to prepare and procedures to expect.

The rights groups said the Facebook page did not disclose classified defense material. The information Bassiouni published, the organizations said, is readily available on the internet. The statement further added that Bassiouni has never engaged in any activities that seek to harm the military establisment.

Bassiouni is not the only internet activist to face a military tribunal in 2010. Ahmed Mostafa, another blogger, was placed before a military tribunal in March. The Egyptian government, however, decided to dismiss the case.

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