Free the Egyptian blogger! But…

Marc Lynch“It’s nice to see everyone raising their voices to protest the sentencing of Egyptian blogger Abdel Karim Nabeel to four years in prison. International criticism of escalating Egyptian repression can only be good, whether the criticism is official or NGO or public. I add my voice to those who call for a revisiting of the verdict and for his release from prison.

“At the same time, I can’t help but note that Nabeel is far from the only political activist in Egyptian jails right now. The Egyptian regime is engaging in an unprecedented crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood. Hundreds of its members have been arrested and referred to the notorious state security courts, their businesses closed down and their bank accounts frozen, without even a trace of due process. Some Muslim Brothers are even bloggers, if that’s what it takes to get people to care. Because not many people seem to.

“This selective outrage, where Westerners care about one anti-Islamist blogger but can’t be bothered about equally arbitrary and illiberal repression of hundreds of Islamists, only reinforces general skepticism that this isn’t really about freedom, human rights, or democracy.”

Marc Lynch at Abu Aardvark, 22 February 2007