EOHR warns from the return to “El Hesba” cases

March 24th, 2019 by Editor

EOHR warns from the return to “El Hesba” cases

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) expresses its deepest concern over the new setbacks suffered by freedom of opinion and expression in Egypt by some new figures who have made themselves as custodians of creative acts and ideas and have brought up the cases of intellectuals, writers and public figures.

The Egyptian Organization stresses its rejection of targeting the intellectuals, writers and public figures because it represents a threat to the foundations and pillars of the rule of law and institutions.
The organization considers that the high frequency of reports filed to the Attorney General of Egypt in this period after it has been suspended in the field of lawsuits carries many fears of ruining the freedom of opinion, expression and media in Egypt, as the continuation of such cases threatens vehemently the future of freedom of opinion and expression.
The organization notes that article 3 of the Civil and Commercial Procedure Code stipulates that “Any request or claim in which the person has no existing interest recognized by law shall not be accepted. However, the potential interest shall be efficient if the purpose of the request is to avert imminent damage or to seek a right that could be abolished in the case of conflict”
Moreover, article 3 of the Criminal Procedure Code stipulates that “a criminal proceeding may be instituted only on the basis of an oral or written complaint by the victim or his or her special agent to the Public Prosecution or to a judicial officer of the offenses set out in articles 185 274, 277, 279, 292, 293, 303, 306, 307 and 308 of the Penal Code, as well as in other cases provided by the law.
The organization explained that the cases of El Hesba[1] had been used before but the law was amended on the occasion of the proceedings against the late Dr. Nasser Hamid Abuzeid ,Professor of Islamic philosophy from some members of the Islamic groups that accused him of infidelity and atheism where the members of these groups called for the divorce of the wife of Dr. Nasser Abuzaid from him before the Family Court for accusing him of infidelity and atheism, during the reign of former President Hosni Mubarak .. However, the legislator intervened and amended the law of the proceedings so that individuals cannot bring the cases directly and give that right to the prosecution after a formal report or request has been made.
The organization calls upon the Attorney-General to investigate the existence of the status and interest of the person who filed the report so that it does not harm the liberties and Egypt’s record in the field of freedoms and expressions, and not in contradiction with articles 64, 65, 67 of the Constitution.
For his part, Dr Hafez Abu Saeda, the organization’s president, said that freedom of opinion and expression is a principle recognized by international conventions and charters on human rights. Therefore, these unjustified campaigns against intellectuals must be stopped in order to respect democracy and human rights so that the State’s discourse in external forums is consistent with its practice internally.
He also added that such issues should not be solved before the courts, but rather through dialogue and substantive debate. He called on all institutions to join together in condemning the attempts by some people to impose their guardianship on society, and to affirm its position on the need to ensure the right of everyone to express their views and ideas freely, to respect the freedom of belief of every citizen of society and to enhance the rule of law.

[1] El Hesba Cases: any person who files a report without any status or interest.

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