Saturday, January 15, 2011

Egypt blogger punitively sacked due to activism

Ahram Online
Blogger loses his job over activism, says rights watchdog
Rights group says there is a witch-hunt against political dissidents

Sunday 9 Jan 2011

Ekram Ibrahim

Mohamed Maree, a 22-year-old veterinarian and blogger, has been fired from a pharmaceutical company in Tanta because of his political activism and blogging, charged the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) today.

“My supervisor said to me that I was dismissed because I had been politically detained in the past and because I my blog is against the country,” Maree, told Ahram Online in a telephone interview.

Many business owners prefer to stay away from any conflict with the government. “It is becoming a trend to dismiss all political activists, in both private and public sectors,” Gamal Eid, the founder and executive director of ANHRI, told Ahram Online. “The government considers hiring them (political activists) as a hostile act towards it.”

When bloggers are fired they usually seek legal action. In most cases, the courts rule to award them with financial compensation, but the judges cannot force the company to rehire them. This, however, will not be the case with Maree because he was fired before the end of his three-month probation period, during which the company has the right to dismiss the employee without giving a reason.

Maree, who has been working as a medical representative for two-and-a-half months, is just one more name in a list of the many bloggers in Egypt and in the Arab world who have lost their jobs because of their political activism. ANHRI has already reported six other cases of political activists, bloggers or journalists who have lost their jobs because they declared their political opinions online.

Maree is now searching for a new job, but has no feelings of regret. “I would not give up either blogging or activism for a job, this is what I believe in,” he said.

Maree was detained for three months following the Mahalla protests against soaring prices in April 2008.

The political activist’s blog is

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