Judging the freedom of opinion and expression, Wael Al-Abrashy will be tried before Giza Criminal Court on 18/7/2010

June 16th, 2010 by Editor

Cairo Appeal Court determined Sunday  18/7/2010 to trial Wael Al-Abrashy, editor in  chief of  Sout El Oma newspaper and “Samar Eldowe”, journalist at the same newspaper, in the case filed by Youssef Boutros Ghali, minister of finance against them, as he accuses Al –Abrashy of  instigating   citizens not to submit affidavits of the real estate tax according to the new  law of real estate tax.

 

 

The facts of the case began when the minister of finance submitted a complaint  No.29 against Wael Al-Abrashy and the journalist Samar Eldowe as a result of what has been published in  issue No.474 in 9/1/2010 in Sout Al Oma newspaper in it’s first two pages,  and also the issue No.476 in 13/1/2010 in the same newspaper to  launch a campaign against the law of real estate tax “don’t submit the affidavits and don’t pay taxes”.

 

 

Ghali indicated in his compliant to the attorney general that the articles published by  Al-Abrashy  violates article177 of the Penal Code ,which states that “Any one who instigate another not to comply with law or committed an act which constitute a felon or misdemeanor according to law  shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years”  

 

as he instigated the citizens by publishing in the newspaper Sout Al Oma not to comply with the new law of real estate tax and he stirred up the public opinion against the law,    

 

 

public prosecution has investigated Wael Al-Abrashy about this campaign, he answered that this press campaign which was released by his newspaper against this law was aiming  at  achieving  at the first place the public interest and this campaign was in the framework of the permissible criticism.

 

 

Mr. Hafez Abu Seada , chairman of EOHR, confirmed the necessity of amending the articles which deprive liberty in the penal code, specially these articles which concern  with publishing crimes especially when this publishing criticize the policies adopted by the government, this criticism targets  the public interest for the Egyptian people , the  role which  adopted  by the authors, thinkers and opinion’s makers, he called the government for being  obligated to the execution of the voluntary pledges concern with the freedom of opinion and expression and the freedom of the press during the acceptance of the government’s membership in the National Council For Human Rights which stated that:

  

1. Maintaining freedom of the press, the independence of the judiciary, the role of the Supreme Constitutional Court in the areas of reviewing the constitutionality of laws and to act as an arbiter between the authorities.  

 
 2. Exerting  every effort to meet the aspirations of its people to a better future; through a process of political, social, and economic reform and to promote and protect human rights, and implementing the national strategy for human rights.

 

Accordingly, EOHR voices concern on the continuing policy of restricting freedom of opinion and expression which contradicts with the Egyptian constitution and international covenants on human rights including the Universal declaration of human rights which provided in its article 19 that ” Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”.

Also the international covenant on civil and political rights  issued in 1966  which confirmed that” Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.

It calls for  abolishing imprisonment sanctions for freedom on the right of journalists,  with enacting a new law to organize freedom of the press to balance between freedom of the  press and the basic components of society  and to form a committee including  legal experts and legislators  and human rights activists  to review all legislations concerning freedom of the press, especially articles that punish journalists with imprisonment in all laws related to express and publishing distributed in various laws including Press Law and the Penal Code and the law regulating the press and the law of State documents and the law of civil servants in the state and the law of political parties.  

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