Egyptian bloggers and activists held a conference on January 22 in defense of their right to speak up after more than 20 Egyptian bloggers were arrested when their train arrived in the village of Naga Hammady where the Coptic massacre took place. They were released shortly afterwards and they shared their testimonials of how they were kidnapped and prevented from paying their respects to the families of the victims.
Wa7da Masrya, a female activist who was detained with the bloggers in the picture, wrote on her blog:
Egyptian blogger Wael Abbas was also among the detained bloggers on this trip. Wael Abbas has been harassed by the authorities, detained at Cairo Airport, and assaulted at home by a police officer. Upon his release, Wael Abbas learnt of his 6 months jail sentence
[He] has been sentenced 6 months in jail and LE 500 pounds (92 USD) as a judiciary bail, as a lawsuit was filed against him by a citizen and his police officer brother on charges of damaging an internet cable! Wael was ruled in absentia last November.
Abbas – a thorn in the side of the government – was interviewed on BBC Hard Talk [Video in English] where he talked about bloggers who were harassed, kidnapped, and forced into silence, he spoke about his own experience with detention, and responded to the following questions:
Do bloggers have any influence in changing authoritarian regimes?
Is here just gaining celebrity status or making a real difference?
Dr. Mostafa El Naggar posted the Egyptian Bloggers Declaration on the right to speak up