Charged with “spreading information and malicious rumors that disrupt public security; defaming the president of Egypt; incitement to overthrow the regime based upon hatred and contempt; incitement to hate "Islam" and to breach public peace standards; and highlighting inappropriate aspects that harm the reputation of Egypt and spreading them to them to the public.”
In his defense, Kareem stated: “I don't see what I have done.... I expressed my opinion... the intention was not anything like these [charges].”
Blogging under the name of Kareem Amer, Kareem wrote about political repression, religious extremism, and discrimination against women, often expressing secular views.
From his “about me” statement on his blog:
“I am down to earth Law student; I look forward to help humanity against all form of discriminations. I am currently studying Law in Al Azhar University. I am looking forward to open up my own human rights activists Law firm, which will include other lawyers who share the same views. Our main goal is to defend the rights of Muslim and Arabic women against all form of discrimination and to stop violent crimes committed on a daily basis in these countries.”
An Egyptian Muslim, Kareem was first recognized as a threat when he wrote a number of blog posts that criticized the role of Muslims in the “Sectarian Riots”, which occurred in 2005, in Kareem's home town of Alexandria, during which 100 people were injured and 3 were killed.
He was arrested for the first time in October 2005 by Amn al-Dawla (Egyptian state security agency) for anti-religious posts on his blog. His books and writings were confiscated and he was held for 12 days. Early the next year he was expelled from al-Azhar for criticizing some of the university's conservative instructors, claiming that the university was stifling free thought. The administrators filed a communiqué to the Public Prosecutor Office against their former student.
In November of that year he was once again arrested, for irreligious blog postings, as well as the University's charges. Allegedly a number of violations occurred during interrogation, according to The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (HRinfo).
The trial began in January and into February, when he was found guilty and sentenced to 3 years for insulting Islam and 1 year for insulting the president Mr. Mubarak.
Intervention efforts by Italian, U.K., and U.S. officials have not resulted in his release. United States Congressman Trent Franks wrote to Egyptian Ambassador Nabil Fahmy regarding the arrest and imprisonment of Kareem:
"Democracies must allow for freedom of speech and certainly for the tolerance of diverse religious beliefs. I laud Mr. Amer’s recognition that violence in the name of religion is unacceptable. I urge the Egyptian government to free Mr. Amer and to protect its citizens from persecution.”
Human Rights Watch,Amnesty International, and International Pen are among the organizations that have been lobbying on his behalf. A number of rallies have been held across the globe, and a blog has been created in support of Kareem. Visit his blog, which is still available on the web.