April 2, 1997

In cases documented by CHRLA

Number of Journalists Threatened with Imprisonment Rises to 72

The Center for Human Rights Legal Aid (CHRLA) continues to express its deep concern regarding the Egyptian authorities’ attack on the freedom of the press, resulting recently in the imprisonment of three journalists and the threat of imprisonment of tens of other journalists who have had cases brought against them.

CHRLA issued last week a list of cases against journalists so far known to the center. This list revealed that the penalty of imprisonment threatens no less than 34 journalists whose cases are still awaiting a ruling or are pending at the public prosecution. CHRLA is continuing its efforts to demonstrate the dangerous consequences that such penalties represent to the freedom of opinion for all citizens, and the probability of more journalists being sent to prison. CHRLA has been able to obtain information this week concerning 38 other cases involving 48 journalists charged with publishing offenses, who could be subject to imprisonment (see the attached list of these cases and the names of the journalists).

From what has been discovered so far, CHRLA’s work demonstrates that 72 journalists are threatened with imprisonment. In particular, there is grave concern over the probability that Gamal Fahmi, Mustafa Bakri, Mahmud Bakri, and ‘Amr Nasif will be sent to prison, after court rulings sentencing them to imprisonment from three months to a year. There are also strong fears that certain journalists will probably be sentenced to prison in more than one case, such as Mustafa Bakri (9 cases), Magdi Ahmad Husayn (13 cases), Salah Badiwi (3 cases), and Mahmud al-Tuhami (6 cases).

In issuing a list containing the names of 72 journalists threatened with imprisonment in connection with their work as journalists, CHRLA renews its call to all civil society institutions to address the dangers to freedom of the press and its negative effects on public and peaceful work, by urging the authorities to:

1. Repeal all penalties which negatively affect the freedom to publish and limit penalties to monetary fines and disciplinary measures to be imposed by the Journalists’ Syndicate on those who contravene the professional code of ethics which was recently adopted by the Higher Press Council;
2. Revise all legal restrictions on the freedom of the press and the freedom of opinion and expression;
3. Adopt recommendations proposed by CHRLA during the crisis of Law 93/1995 and endorsed by the Journalists’ Syndicate, the most important of those being:
a) Considering good faith and the belief of the alleged libeler in the legitimacy of his/her work as a sufficient reason for what s/he wrote and transferring the burden of proof from the accused to the public prosecution or to the plaintiff;
b) Carefully defining the difference between an individual’s right to privacy and the right to privacy of a public figure or public servant;
c) Separating the powers of investigation from the powers of prosecution in cases of publishing offenses by creating a body consisting of three Court of Cassation justices selected by the General Assembly of the Court of Cassation who have sole jurisdiction over investigation according to a request by the public prosecution or whoever is authorized to bring charges in press and publishing offenses.

List of Journalists Threatened with Imprisonment

(according to Information Gathered by CHRLA until 2 April 1998)
  1. Amr Nasif: Sentenced to prison for 1 year by a first instance court; awaiting a court of appeal ruling.
  2. Gamal Fahmi: A final court ruling sentenced him to 6 months in prison; also threatened with imprisonment of 3 months in another case which is awaiting appeal on 9/05/98.
  3. Magdi Ahmad Hussayn: Serving a 1-year prison sentence and threatened with imprisonment in 13 other cases still awaiting trial.
  4. Ibrahim ‘Issa: Charged in 2 cases awaiting trial.
  5. ‘Issam Ismail Fahmi: Involved in 1 case.
  6. Mustafa Bakri: Sentenced to 1 year with hard labor by a first instance court; currently awaiting appeal, postponed until 18/04/98. Also threatened with imprisonment in 9 other cases.
  7. Mahmud Bakri: Sentenced to 1 year with hard labor by a first instance court; currently awaiting appeal, postponed until 18/4/98. Also threatened with imprisonment in 4 other cases.
No. Name Comments
8 Hanan Kamal: Charged in 2 cases.
9 Hussam Suliman: 1 case
10 Abd al-Nasir Muhammad: 1 case
11 Muhammad Abu al-Anwar: 1 case
12 Salah Qabadayia : 1 case
13 Hisham Tantawi: 1 case
14 Nabil Sadiq : 1 case
15 ‘Issam Sultan: 1 case
16 Salah Badawi: 3 cases
17 Hamdi al-Shami: 1 case
18 Adel Hussayn: 2 cases
19 Dawud Hassan: 1 case
20 Hamdi Hamada: 1 case
21 ‘Usama al-Karam: 1 case
22 Mamduh Mahran: 1 case
23 Safaa ‘Abd al-Fatah: 1 case
24 ‘Issam Zakariya: 1 case
25 Mahmud al-Tuhami: 6 cases
26 Ahmad ‘Abd al-Hadi: 1 case
27 Abdullah al-Kilani: 1 case
28 Galal Duwidar: 3 cases
29 Galal al-Sayyid: 1 case
30 Adel Hamuda: 2 cases
31 ‘Amr al-Khayat: 1 case
32 Lina Mazlum: 1 case
33 Sayyid Guda : 1 case
34 Muhammad Gamal al-Din: 1 case
35 Ra’uf Tawfiq: 1 case
36 Tariq Radwan: 1 case
37 Abd al-Hamid Sha‘aban: 1 case
38 Wahid Ghazi: 1 case
39 Ramadan Sayyid: 1 case
40 Muhammad Hani: 1 case
41 Muhammad ‘Abd al-‘Aal: 1 case
42 Mahmud al-Sa‘idi: 1 case
43 Nasir Salah al-Din: 1 case
44 ‘Usama Badr : 1 case
45 Faysal Mustafa: 1 case
46 Muhammad Rashid: 1 case
47 Nagi Salah Abu al-Naga: 1 case
48 Gamal Badawi: 2 cases
49 Ahmad Mustafa Suliman: 1 case
50 Sana’ Fatah Allah: 1 case
51 ‘Abd al-Rahman Muhammad Lutfi : 1 case
52 Muhammad al-Maraghi: 1 case
53 Muhammad Amir : 1 case
54 Nur al-Sabah ‘Abd al-Raziq: 1 case
55 Kamal Khalid: 3 cases
56 Al-Sayyid Hafiz al-Sayyid: 1 case
57 Salah Nahif : 1 case
58 ‘Abd al-Fatah Fayad: 1 case
59 ‘Ali al-Qimash: 2 cases
60 Gamal Yunis : 1 case
61 Makram Muhammad Ahmad: 1 case
62 Khalid Yunis: 1 case
63 Layla ‘Abd al-Hamid: 1 case
64 Mahmud Salah: 1 case
65 Ibrahim Sa‘ada: 4 cases
66 Tuhani Ibrahim: 3 cases
67 Sayyid ‘Abd al-‘Ati ‘Abd al-‘Ati: 1 case
68 Gamal al-Shinawi: 1 case
69 ‘Ala’ ‘Abd al-Karim: 1 case
70 Hassan Hamza: 1 case
71 Mustafa ‘Atiya: 1 case
72 Samir Tawfiq: 1 case

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