EOHR calls for the suspension of all investigations of cases relating to Freedom of Expression and Opinion

March 8th, 2018 by Editor

EOHR calls for the suspension of all investigations of cases relating to Freedom of Expression and Opinion

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) expresses its deep concern regarding the latest disturbing developments still unraveling in Egypt over the past few days. The most alarming among these developments was the arrest of playwright Walid Atef and Director Ahmed Al Garhi on account of their latest play (Sulieman Khater). Atef and Al Garhi were referred to the military prosecution and have been in military custody ever since. The military prosecution accused both Atef and Al Garhi of insulting the Armed Forces and the artists are expected to stand military trial because of their artistic work. Its worth mentioning that the play narrated the story of Sulieman Khater an Egyptian border guard who shot and killed seven Israeli individuals on the Egyptian Israeli border in October 1985. Khater was trialed and sentenced to life imprisonment however he was found dead in his cell 9 days after the verdict leaving a controversial legacy that lasts to this day in Egyptian society.

Another incident was the General Prosecution’s ordering the arrest of Khairy Ramadan a pro government Talk Show host after he read out a message from a police officer’s wife where she complained about the low income and bad living conditions of members of the police force and their families. Mr. Ramadan turned himself in to the authorities upon hearing of the prosecutor’s order, the prosecution charged him with insulting the police force. Mr. Ramadan was only released on bail after paying 10,000 EGP and the case will most likely progress to court.

 

EOHR sees that legally charging individuals with accusations such as insulting the Police or the Armed Forces are a serious transgression of Freedom of Expression as well as Freedom of the Media and Press. EOHR reminds Egyptian authorities that these basic rights and freedoms are guaranteed and protected by the Egyptian Constitution and International Human Rights Law and calls upon the government of Egypt to respect and uphold these rights accordingly.

EOHR also implores the Public Prosecution to suspend these cases and uphold the constitutional guarantees of basic freedoms and human rights values.

Dr. Hafez Abu Seada the president of EOHR stressed that such cases are not only a violation of freedom of speech, but they also complicate the human rights situation in Egypt. Abu Seada added that these cases must be suspended and that differences in these contexts should be resolved through dialogue. Abu Seada concluded by calling upon the government to encourage and develop a general atmosphere friendly and accepting of all freedoms in general and freedom of the media in particular.

 

 

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