Press release

April 30, 1998

Family of Journalist Gamal Fahmy and CHRLA lawyers banned from visiting journalists held in Mazra'at Tura prison

In an unjustifiable move, the Mazra'at Tura prison administration banned the family of journalist Gamal Fahmy from visiting him this morning. The same administration banned two CHRLA lawyers from visiting the three journalists Magdi Ahmad Husayn, Muhammad Hilal, and Gamal Fahmy, currently serving prison sentences following the final verdict of he court in two publication cases.

Lawyers Tariq Khatir, director of the legal unit at CHRLA, and Samir al-Baguri, a member of the defence committee for the three journalists, had previously obtained official permission to make the visit.

Journalist Mona Salem, the wife of Gamal Fahmy, and his daughter, went this morning to visit him, and were denied entry despite having obtained permission to visit.

CHRLA expresses its condemnation of this blatant harassment on the part of the officers of Mazra'at Tura prison administration, considering it an abuse of the right of prisoners to contact their families and lawyers, and in violation of both Article 39 of the Prison Law, and Article 141 of the Code on Criminal Procedures and also the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. It also shows contempt for the orders of the Prosecutor General, who gave permission to visit. This situation obstructs the work of human rights organizations, preventing them from monitoring the situation of prisoners and guaranteeing their rights provided by the constitution and the law, and violating the right of lawyers to carry out their professional duty, namely to defend the journalists accused in these cases before the Court of Cassation.

In this regard, CHRLA calls upon the Prosecutor General to take the necessary steps to investigate these incidents, and urges the Journalists' Syndicate to support the journalists in the face of the violations of their rights committed by the prison administration, and to take all the necessary measures to prevent the repetition of these events.

CHRLA also urges the Egyptian Lawyers' Syndicate to move decisively to protect its members from harassment by the authorities of the prison administration and the arbitrary harassment which prevents lawyers from practising their profession.

CHRLA calls on Interior Minister General Habib al-'Adli to issue strict orders to force administrations and employees of the prison organization to respect the rule of law and the orders issued by the highest investigation authority represented by the Prosecutor General.

Egyptian Press under Attack

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