Cairo, 30 April (AKI) – The Egyptian Sand Monkey – one of the country’s most popular and straight talking blogs – has closed down his site. In a farewell message, the blogger explained “that there has been too much heat around me lately,” adding he feared for his anonymity with “State Security agents lurking around my street and asking questions about me.” He went on to say that his bowing out was also due to changes in the Egyptian blogosphere, “too much media attention, too much hype,” and the need for a period of reflection.
The news of the farewell to the web of the “sand monkey” because of alleged repression by the Egyptian regime, has captured the interest of the local media and on Monday the story was carried by most of the main Arab-language dailies.
One of the most vibrant voices in the political and social debate of the country Sand Monkey has over the past two years consistently reported on the violence and brutality used against political activists during protests agianst the rule of president Hosni Mubarak.
Egyptian bloggers came to the attention of the mainstream media two years ago and have since become an important pillar of information in a country where the media is largely state controlled.
In recent months the blogosphere has been in the sights of the Egyptian authorities who fear the spread via the Internet of information that is not controlled or at least filtered by central power. In one particular case cellphone images of an Egyptian citizen, who had been tortured in a police station, appeared on Egyptian blogs and were quickly picked up by other sites around the globe.
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In related news… The Egyptian Daily Star reported that there were several rallies this weekend held in support of Egyptian blogger Karim Suleiman who was imprisoned last year for his blogging against the regime.
A “Free Kareem” protest was held in Washington DC on Saturday, April 28, 2007. Egyptian blogger Kareem Suleiman was sentenced to four years in jail for insulting the Mubarak regime.
Last February, a court in Alexandria sentenced blogger Karim Suleiman, 22, to four years jail for having insulted the president and Islam, the state religion. The sentence was widely condemened by human rights and press freedom campaigners. (ADNK)
And… Don’t miss Atlas’s interview with the Egyptian Sandmonkey posted today.