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Egypt detains blogger in random security check

Written by: Staff
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CAIRO, Nov 19 (Reuters) Egyptian police detained an opposition blogger in a chance security check today, a human rights group said.

Blogger Rami Siyam, who runs ayoubelmasry.blogspot.com, was detained with three other bloggers leaving a friend's house in downtown Cairo around dawn, said Gamal Eid, director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information.

The four had been visiting Mohamed el-Sharkawi, himself a blogger who was detained in late July and held for almost three months.

The area is home to the opposition Ghad (Tomorrow) party's headquarters, and security was especially tight in preparation for President Hosni Mubarak's speech to parliament today.

Police asked the four for identification and took them to a police station. They told Siyam their records showed he faced a court case in Sharkia province, and he would be transferred there for further checks. The other three were released.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Interior said he had no knowledge of the detention.

Siyam's blog contains advertisements for opposition and human rights activities.

On Tuesday, human rights watchdog Amnesty International said freedom of speech in Egypt was eroding, citing the arrests of a blogger and an opposition politician.

Two weeks ago, journalists' rights group Reporters Without Borders added Egypt to its list of the worst suppressors of freedom of expression on the Internet.

REUTERS SP BS2131

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