After going back on the policy of journalists imprisonment

February 12th, 2009 by Editor


The situation of the freedom of opinion and expression witnessed a noticeable improvement in the past few days represented in the government abstention to imprison journalists in the publishing cases, however the sanction is replaced by extravagant fines ranged from 20 000 L.E to 40 000 L.E as follows:


– On Saturday 31/1/2009 Al Agouza Misdemeanor of Appeal Court sentenced both of Ibrahim Essa,editor in chief of  the weekly Al Dostour newspaper, Wael Al-Abrashi, executive editor -in -chief of the weekly “Soat Al-Ommah”, Adel Hamoda, editor in chief of of the weekly “Al-Fagr”, and Abdel Halim Kandeel, former editor in chief of the weekly “Al-Karama“ newspaper to  a fine of 20 000L.E in case No. 26700 -2007 prosecuted by a lawyer who accused them of defaming the president of the republic.



On 13/9/2007 Al Agouza Misdemeanor court sentenced the four editors in chief to one year imprisonment and a fine of 20000L.E, but they were released on bail of 10 000 L.E pending Appeal. They were accused according to Article 188 of the Egyptian Penal Code which provided to sentence to 1 year imprisonment and a fine of not more than 20000 L.E for everyone who ” publish with ill-intention news or statements or false rumors which disturb the public security” .



On 10/2/2009 , Al Giza Criminal Court sentenced Yasser Barakat, editor in chief of Al Mogaz newspaper, to a fine of 40 000L.E and submitted the civil suit to the competent court. The events of the case return back to  the date of 22 January, 2008 when Mostafa Bakry, editor  in chief of Al Asbou newspaper, who brought an insult and defame suit against Yasser Barakat.



-The Case of Port Said blogger No.4780 -2008 Al Zohour Misdemeanor, which sentenced tamer Mabrouk, blogger of Port Said governorate, to a fine of 2500 L.E and a civil reparation of 40000 for the sake of “Trust for chemical” which prosecuted against the blogger accusing him of  insulting and defaming.


In this regard, EOHR expresses its deepest worries concerning the replacement of the imprisonment sentence with the extravagant fines imposed on journalists. It calls the government for extenuating these fines particularly in the light of the low salaries of journalists as well as the evaluation of fines has evolved in accordance with the law 93 of 1995 from a fine not less than 50 L.E  and not more than 500 L.E to a fine not less than 1000 L.E to not more than 10000 L.E, then fines have been modified and the minimum and maximum rate has been multiplied and the maximum limit was used in several cases the matter which threat to lock out newspapers.


In the same time, EOHR confirms that these excessive sanctions is only a form of restrictions imposed on the freedom of opinion and expression the matter which  conflicts with the Egyptian Constitution and the international covenants concerned with human rights     , especially the Universal Declaration For Human Rights  which provided in its Article 19 ” The right to hold opinions without any intervention, and to obtain information and news and release it regardless of the geographical borders” . Also the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966, which stressed that “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression and this right includes the freedom to search for information or ideas and the freedom to receive and transfer information regardless of borders either written, said or printed”. The Egyptian government ratified on these covenants and so it became part and parcel of its interior law in accordance with Article 151 of the Egyptian Constitution.


EOHR calls the government for reconsidering the journalists salaries as the indications of the international bank referred that their salaries are below the poverty line. Also it calls the government for not applying the Penal Code to criminalize the freedom of expression and the freedom of the press and to implement their international obligations on the freedom of expression, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights besides, and Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  


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This entry was posted on Thursday, February 12th, 2009 at 1:04 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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