What Happened to Philip Rizk? — Update

Philip Rizk

Philip Rizk

The Gaza war was bound to get caught up in the human rights abuses of other countries in the region.  From Egypt comes news this weekend that German-Egyptian blogger and activist Philip Rizk was arrested by Egyptian security officials during a Gaza solidarity rally.  Friends of Philip say 14 others were also arrested, but all but Philip were released.

This is a recurring story in Egypt, where the government is suspicious of any popular movement or demonstration that exists outside of their control.  Their goal is to muzzle all of civil society. Philip is just one of a number of Egyptian activists arrested because of their public efforts on Gaza.

Following the arrest, security officials continued to harass family members in Egypt. Amnesty International has met with the family and is following the case closely, as it is with the other arrested activists. Support groups for Philip have scheduled protests for today, Monday, in Washington, Chicago and other sites in the United States.

More information will be posted as we receive it.

UPDATED INFORMATION– Philip Rizk was released in the morning of 11 February.

No further action is requested from the UA network. Many thanks to all who sent appeals.

Azerbaijan: Unlimited Presidency?

The civil society in Azerbaijan and some expatriates in the United States are organizing against a March 18, 2009 constitutional referendum that “would clear the way for [Azerbaijan’s] President Ilham Aliyev to remain in office indefinitely.”

Photo: Three-year-old Azerbaijani-American Lale at a New York rally/ via Global Voices Online

An oil-rich country, ex-Soviet Azerbaijan’s undemocratic actions are rarely criticized by the West. How will U.S. President Barack Obama, who has visited Azerbaijanas a senator, react to the constitutional change

— Simon Maghakyan, Eurasia Country Specialist