New Egyptian blog calls for release of Iranian detainees

04 Jul 2009, written by

By Sara Elkamel / Daily News Egypt :-

CAIRO: A group of Egyptian activists launched a website demanding the release of Iranian protestors detained on account of demonstrations following the allegedly rigged presidential elections in Iran.

“We were obliged to defend the rights of the Iranians to express their opinions without being condemned and jailed for doing so. They shouldn’t be detained for expressing their anger toward certain suspected glitches in the elections,” Mohamed Maree, blogger responsible for launching Free Iranian Detainees, said.

In the wake of what is considered to be the toughest challenge to Iranian control since the Islamic Republic was founded in 1979, protestors were killed and injured.

The unrest illicted various reactions from countries and organizations throughout the world. US President Barack Obama admitted to being “appalled and outraged by the threats, beatings and imprisonments” at a conference in the White House.

Maree launched this website with help from bloggers Norah Negm and Tamer Mowafi. “I also sought out activists who were responsible for the release of an American journalist with Iranian roots, Rexona Sabry,” Maree said, “they provided us with the titles and e-mail addresses of Iranian officials. Human rights activists in Iran gave us the names of the detainees.”

Along with demanding the release of Iranian detainees, the website provides information on the number of detained demonstrators, along with a list of their names. The site also provides e-mail addresses of top Iranian officials including Supreme Leader Sayed Ali Khamenei, so website visitors can directly call upon authorities to free the detainees.

In Egypt, an online debate ensued as to which side to support in the Iranian unrest.

Dalia Ziada, a blogger and Egypt office director of the American Islamic Congress was the first to post a comment in the website’s feedback box. “Wonderful Job! I am in,” she wrote.

“They are Egyptian youth with a resolution for freedom and democracy. I would support such principles anywhere in the world,” she told Daily News Egypt.

She also sees the protests in Iran in the light of political activism in Egypt.

“The wave of change will strike the whole region,” Ziada added.

When asked if Egyptian efforts would at all make a difference and help the situation in Iran, Ziada said: “Definitely. There is now no such thing as Egypt, Iran and the United States. We are all universal citizens.”

Maree explained that the website he helped develop is only “a small part of a huge movement to free the Iranian detainees.”

The activist believes in the power of the people. “In this age, no one can deny the vital role played by the international civil society, human rights activists, and the influence they have on important issues around the world.”

Despite openly criticizing the oppressive methods employed by Iran, the security forces in Cairo were not tolerant to an Egyptian rally organized by Ayman Nour, founder of the opposition Al-Ghad party, last week. The rally was scheduled to be held in Talaat Harb Square, in downtown Cairo. But security was soon to halt the event, and arrested four of the protestors

Of the Egyptian government’s ambivalent attitude towards Iranian dictatorship, Nour said at a news conference at his party’s headquarters, “Such acts only prove one thing: that the Egyptian and Iranian regimes are quite the same when it comes to their autocratic path and rejection of democracy.”


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