It is sad that one of the bulwarks against Islamism in the Middle East -Egypt - is brutal towards free speech.
Hosni Mubarak is a dictator – he is no doubt better than having an Islamist regime, and he has maintained peaceful relations with Israel – but he is a dictator. Political dissent has few outlets in Egypt, and that is sad because it fuels dissent in the major independent institution in the country – mosques. I know the alternative for now is an Islamist regime - which would be far worse. As No Right Turn points out "In a free society, criticising an educational institution and the government should not be a crime. But Egypt is not a free society". The bubble of Islamism is only encouraged if criticism is suppressed because it will rally opposition towards Islam - as in Iran.
Hosni Mubarak is big and bright enough to not do this, to grant Abdel Kareem Soliman a pardon, and allow criticism of government and Islam. The US administration should exercise pressure as well.