Egyptian bloggers who were harassed and detained in Egypt are harassed and detained in the US

A group of Egyptian bloggers who have been coming to the US throughout the past three months to cover the American elections were welcomed back to the US last night by getting arrested. Ironically, their trip was sponsored by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Snip:

[W]e've been blogging a bit about the folks over at Egypt Blogs America. It's a group of 8 Egyptian bloggers who have been brought to the US for a series of first-hand looks at the election campaigns as part of a project by the Kamal Adham Center for Journalism Training and Research at The American University in Cairo. The first trips they visited Washington, New York and other major cities. This week, after having returned briefly to Egypt, they are on their way back to visit journalism schools to which they've been assigned in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Austin, Texas, Syracuse, New York and Nebraska. (Disclosure: We'll be collaborating on a Second Life project with them in coming weeks.) The group has done an insightful and witty job of covering the 2008 US presidential election (including links to sites such as If the World Could Vote, where 90 percent of the 614,000 people from 207 countries have picked Obama over McCain).

In their own country these bloggers are fighting for freedom of speech and the press. Many of them have been actively harassed by their government for their efforts. Wael Abbas, for example, had his YouTube account shut down because of his anti-torture coverage.

Imagine their surprise last night when enroute back to the US, two of the bloggers were arrested and detained; one for four hours and the other for ten before being released to do what they came here to do -- observe and record.

(Ironically, they arrive in the US as the Egyptian government in recent weeks has launched a campaign of arrests and harassment of bloggers.)
Egypt Blogs America; Gets Arrested (Eureka Deja Vu, thanks Joshua Fouts). Above, a screengrab of Wael Abbas' blog.

Previously on Boing Boing:

* Egypt: blogger Kareem Amer gets 4 years for insulting Islam
* Egyptian blogger Alaa to be released from prison
* Egyptian anti-torture blogger Wael Abbas says YouTube shut his account.
* Egypt: worldwide rallies for jailed blogger Kareem Amer on Fri. Apr. 27
* Supporters work to free Egypt blogger Kareem (NPR "Xeni Tech")