Egypt intensifies crackdown on critical bloggers

Police arrest and detain members of opposition groups that use the internet to make their voices heard

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By  Vineetha Menon Published  April 6, 2009

Egyptian authorities are cracking down on opposition groups in the country that are taking their fight online through blogs and social networking groups.

Police yesterday detained twenty five year old Abdel Rahman Fares, a blogger from Egypt’s strongest opposition group - Muslim Brotherhood. A security source told Reuters that Fares, who runs the blog ‘my tongue is my pen’, was detained on suspicion of distributing literature that promoted the Brotherhood’s agenda and inciting citizens to protest.

The government has labelled the group an ‘outlawed organisation’ but allows it to continue operations, while frequently detaining members for weeks without officially charging them.

News of Fares’ detention comes a day after police reportedly beat and detained at least 18 members of a protest group known as ‘6th of April Youth’, which was set up by Esra Abdel Fattah on Facebook after clashes erupted on April 6th last year between police and workers demanding more pay to cope with rising inflation.

Esra was famously detained as a result and freed only after her mother made an appeal to Interior Minister Habib al-Adli.

The group is presently calling for strike to mark the anniversary of the clashes under the slogan – It’s out right, and we’ll take it – much to the chagrin of the Egyptian government.

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