Fines for El- Wafd journalists and a judgment in absentia for Madgy Hessien

June 29th, 2010 by Editor

On Monday 28/6/2010 North Giza Criminal Court sentenced two journalists in El- Wafd newspaper to a fine of  240 thousand EGP in the case of  libel and defame filed by counselors of the Council of State.

Yahya El Dakroroy, vice-president of the council of state and chairman of the judges’ club of the council and El- Hassan Mahmoud,  member of  the board of directors of the judges’ club,  have filed a case against Gamal Shawky,  editor-in-chief for  the weekly issue of El- Wafd newspaper and Magdy Salama , journalist, after the journalists published an article in El- Wafd newspaper on November 2008 which was considered as libel and defame in their right.

On 15/6/2010 North Cairo Court of Appeal sentenced Magdy Ahmed Hessien to imprisonment and a fine  of one thousand in the publishing case for 14 years ago.

The facts of the case go back to  1996, when the family Hassan El Alfy, Ex. Minister of Interior filed a case when “El- Shaab” newspaper adopted a campaign against the former Minister of Interior and his family, the court sentenced Magdy Hessien to a fine of 15 thousand EGP,  but the lawyers challenged the verdict before the Court of Cassation which decided to return the case to be heard after 14 years as the Court of Appeal sentenced him  in absentia  to one year imprisonment and a fine of one thousand EGP. 

In this regard; EOHR  expressed its deepest worries on overstating the amount of fines imposed on journalists calling the government to reduce these fines, especially in light of the low wages of journalists, at the same time, EOHR  is emphasizing that these sanctions are just a form of restriction on the freedom of opinion and expression, which totally contradicts with the Egyptian Constitution and international covenants on human rights, as well as a breach to Egypt’s commitments to UN Human Rights Council on  the maintenance of freedom of the press.

EOHR appeals to the government, the Syndicate of Journalists and all civil society organizations to work quickly to cancel the imprisonment sanction in the publishing cases in accordance with the provisions of international conventions on human rights with emphasis on the importance of adding legislative amendments to  articles that punish journalists with imprisonment in all laws related to expression, publishing and printing, with work on a legal mechanism for penalizing the withholding of information for journalists  by any government or public authority, the prohibition of the imposition of any restrictions on the free flow of information  without prejudice to the requirements of national defense and security and the non-discrimination in access to information among the various newspapers.

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