The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) launches a campaign entitled “No for the imprisonment in publishing cases”

October 13th, 2008 by Editor

 

On Saturday 11/10/2008 , three cases of the freedom of opinion and expression were discussed in

both of Al Agouza Misdemeanor of Appeal Court , Giza Criminal Court and Al Agouza Misdemeanor Court . A decision was issued in one of these cases while one of them was held to judgment  and the last was submitted to another area of jurisdiction . 

 

Here in below The report of these cases :

 – The first case : Editors –In –Chief  of ( Al Dostour – Al Fagr- Al Karama-Soat Al Omaah)newspapers.

 

Al Agouza Misdemeanor of Appeal Court decided to hold the Appeal submitted by Wael Al-Abrashi, executive editor -in -chief of the weekly “Soat Al-Ommah”, Adel Hamoda, of the weekly “Al-Fagr”, and Abdel Halim Kandeel, former editor of the weekly “Al-Karama“ against the issued decision from Al Agouza Misdemeanor Court as they were sentenced to 1 year imprisonment and 20000 L.E fine in the case No.1799-2007 prosecuted by some leaders of the National Democratic Party (NDP)for publishing false information and rumors about them . A session was determined on 6th of December for issuing a verdict . Prosecutors called for applying Articles (49,50)of the Penal Code to thickening the sanction and canceling the presidential  pardon issued for the sake of Ibrahim Issa the matter which is considered an insult to journalists who were described as thieves and criminals .     

 

 

 Article 49 stipulated the following

 

Man is considered recidivist to the crime if he

 

– Was sentenced to a criminal penalty and there is an evidence that he committed a felony or misdemeanor again

– was sentenced to one year or more than one year   imprisonment and committed a misdemeanor before the lapse of five years from the end date of this sanction or from the date of its fall over time .

 

– Was sentenced to one year or less or fine and committed the same crime again before the lapse of 5 years from the date of decision mentioned .

 

The theft, fraud and  breaching the trust  are considered an uniform felonies in  recidivism. As well as an insult and defamation and libel are considered an uniform crimes.

 

 

 Article 50 stipulated the following :

 

The judge is allowed – in case of repeating the crime mentioned in the previous article – to sentence to more than the maximum limit stated legally  for the crime on the condition of not exceeding the double of this limit.

 

 

The defense team defended with rejecting the suit as it was prosecuted by incompetent side as these prosecutors manipulated the power of attorneys belong to President of the republic in elections to bring these suits the matter which is considered a threat to the opposition and independent press to prevent them to criticize the government in view of the fact that the government is represented by the national democratic party (NDP) .

 

 

The facts of that case returns back when one lawyer bring suit before Al Gamaliah Misdemeanor Court against the mentioned editors as he is a member of the (NDP)as a pretext that they published false information and rumors about Mr. President , Prime Minister , Minister of The Interior and some leaders of the Governing Party . The  first sessions of the case started on 30/11/2006 as the court submitted the case to Al Agouza Misdemeanor Court for the incompetence ,then the case was negotiated by sessions until the court issued its previous decision on Thursday 13/9/2007 .

 

 

 

The second case : The case of Sheikh Al Azhar against Adel Hamouda AND Mohamed Al Baz

  

Giza Misdemeanor Court fined Adel Hamoda , editor –in –chief of the weekly “Al-Fagr” newspaper and Mohamed Al Baz , writer in the newspaper with 80000 L.E for each of them for convicting them with insulting and defaming  Sheikh Al Azhar “Mohamed Sayed Tantawy” .

 

 

Sheikh Al Azhar brought suit against Adel Hamoda, editor in chief of the weekly “Al-Fagr”, and his colleague Mohamed Al Baz for insulting Al Azhar body . The case was prosecuted after the newspaper issued a report entitled ” Sheikh Al vatikan Al Akbar ” and includes a picture for Sheikh Al Azhar with a cloth that is not suitable for him to be wore as Sheikh Al AZhar considered . Also the report -from Sheikh Al Azhar’s point of view – included insulted phrases that lose the prestige of his position . In addition , Sheikh Al Azhar prosecuted against the two mentioned men according to article 184 of the Penal Code which stipulates that “ A penalty of imprisonment and a fine of not less than five thousand pounds and not more than ten thousand pounds or by both two sanctions for anyone who insulted or defamed by any method the People’s Assembly or the Shura Council or other statutory bodies, the army or the courts or authorities or public interests”. Also the court obliged Hamouda and Al Baz to pay 5000 L.E as a temporary compensation for Sheikh Al Azhar and they were released from the charge of insulting Al Azhar Body .

 

  

The third case: the case of Ahmed Ezz against Abdel Halem Kandeel  

  

Al Agouza Misdemeanor Court issued a decision in the case prosecuted by Ahmed Ezz against both of Abdel Halem Kandeel by submitting the case to another area of jurisdiction . Ezz prosecuted against both Abdel Halim   Kandeel and Essam Ismail Fahmy ,chairman of board of Soat Al Omaah company for press and publishing ,before Al Agouza Misdemeanor Court for publishing a report in issue No. 394 of Soat Al Omaah including a picture for Ezz with a head line entitled ” The system which protects Ezz the first thief of Egypt ” . Ezz considered what has been published as a libel and insult . The case will be considered on Saturday 11/10/2008 as the court decided to submit the case to Thursday circle on 6/11/2008 .

  

In this regard, EOHR confirms its demands not to apply the criminal law for punishing journalists with imprisonment as it is clear that the current laws aims at imposing strict penalties on journalists not for defending the freedom of opinion and expression .EOHR calls the Egyptian government for not applying the Penal Code to criminalize the freedom of opinion and expression and press freedom and to implement its international obligations concerned with the freedom of expression including the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights, beside to  what Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stipulated. Also EOHR  hopes that the Egyptian government submits a proposal for the Legislative Council to enact a law for the completion of the presidential promise to amend all articles in the Penal Code, which punished with the imprisonment in publishing cases, particularly articles 102 and 171 and 188.

 

Furthermore, EOHR expresses its solidarity with all journalists for the abolition of all negative sanctions for the freedom ,so EOHR organizes a national campaign entitled ” No for the negative sanctions for the freedom in publishing cases” .

 

The campaign aims at abolishing all negative sanctions for freedom in publishing cases for protecting the freedom of press and journalists and working according to the Constitution and the international covenants which guarantees the right to the freedom of opinion and expression .Also the campaign calls for satisfying with fine punishment with determining the  maximum limit for these fines and the prejudiced from publishing has a right for rehabilitation in the same newspaper and bring suit against the   journalist before the civil court if there is an evidence that the journalist breached the press charter , beside generalizing the legislative amendments related to the implement of the presidential promise for  such articles that penalize journalists with prison sentence in all laws related to expression , publishing and printing  distributed in several laws such as  printing law , penal code and press organized law , parties law and intelligent law ,,etc  .Also the campaign calls for stopping practices which violate the freedom of press and journalists exercised by the executive authority and to take the necessary measures to ensure the safety of journalists  lives against the oppression, murder , Surveillance and detention or arbitrary exposure.

 

 

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This entry was posted on Monday, October 13th, 2008 at 12:05 pm and is filed under Statements. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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