Twitter Helps Free American Held In Egypt

Tweet leads to sweet release, but associate still held

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[ Social Media]

A journalism student photographing demonstrations outside a police station in Egypt found himself jailed by police, but he managed to put a word out to his friends on Twitter.

By telling his followers one word, ARRESTED, James Karl Buck managed to set off a chain of interest and attention that led to his release from jail. The Twitter ‘tweet’ ended up being heard by several major news publications, rights organizations, and ultimately the US Embassy.

“On 10 April around 6pm I was photographing outside the Mahalla police 1st station,” Buck wrote. “Police surrounded me and despite the efforts of the crowd to get me free, police caught our taxi and told the driver I was from the CIA.”

Buck and a local translator, Mohammed Salah Ahmed Maree, were released but re-arrested a second time. Though police later let Buck go, Maree was not, and is apparently still in police custody.

Once news of Buck’s arrest began to circulate among his Twitter connections, they alerted UC-Berkeley and the US Embassy. The school arranged for a local attorney for Buck, the Mercury News said.

Now back in America, Buck and others plan to hold a demonstration outside the Egyptian consulate in San Francisco on Friday morning to call for Maree’s release. Reporters Without Borders also pointed out several other arrests of bloggers in Egypt, and called for their release as well.

Twitter Helps Free American Held In Egypt
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