01.28.11

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy On Protests In Egypt And Global Internet Freedom

“I join President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton in voicing strong support for the fundamental right of freedom of expression and assembly for the Egyptian people, and in urging the Egyptian Government not to block access to internet communications, including online social media.  As the situation in Egypt continues to unfold, I urge all parties to refrain from using violence. 

“The internet – a product of American innovation – is a vital tool for communicating and sharing information and for ensuring the rights and basic freedoms of people everywhere.  A free and open internet is essential to ensuring the universal rights of the people of Egypt, and of all peoples, to freedom of expression, confidence in the rule of law, and government that is transparent and accountable to the citizens.

“The Egyptian Government has long received military supplies and assistance from the United States, which creates another level of concern for Americans as we watch what seem to be the largely peaceful protests in that country.  United States laws specifically prescribe the uses of such assistance.  I call on the Egyptian authorities to ensure that the rights and well being of civilian protestors are respected and protected.  The misuse of force, with or without U.S. supplied ordnance, would threaten the safety of civilians and draw the condemnation of a watching world.”

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