Monday, February 16, 2009

Gaza Off-Limits to Activists in Egypt

The latest Israeli war on Gaza has sparked a revival in Egyptian activism tied to the Palestinian cause, but the crackdown is a clear message from the government that Gaza is off-limits.

Middle East Times, February 16, 2009 - Egypt has made it clear to activists that Gaza is off-limits. A military tribunal sentenced Labor Party leader Magdy Ahmed Hussein last Wednesday to a two-year prison sentence and a fine of 5,000 Egyptian pounds ($900) for illegally entering the Gaza Strip last month. This jail sentence continues the Egyptian government's crackdown of dissidents linked to Gaza in recent weeks.

Also on Wednesday, German-Egyptian blogger Phillip Rizk was released from detention after spending five days in an unknown location following a peace march he organized and participated in. His arrest sparked an international outcry that has rights groups questioning the Egyptian government's tactics with opposition forces.

At the same time, Diaeddin Gad, who runs the Angry Voice blog, was taken from the Nile Delta governorate of Gharbiyah, security sources confirmed, without providing any further information. He also spoke out against the government for its involvement in Gaza during the 23-day Israeli war on the Hamas-run strip.

The Egyptian government accused Hussein of illegally entering Gaza via a smuggling tunnel, a claim vehemently denied by his wife, Nagla'a al-Qaluiby.

She said that her husband had crossed through the Rafah border crossing through a "breach in the border wall" and did not use a smuggling tunnel.

In Ismailia, a town some 100 kilometers (60-miles) east of Cairo along the Suez Canal, a military court refused to allow defense attorneys to be present when the verdict was handed down....

See also: Open Season on Gaza Activists in Egypt - Common Dreams (February 15, 2009)

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