12 June 2012

Egypt: Journalist Fined for Alleged Slander

press release

ANHRI condemns the sentence handed by Azbakiya Court of Misdemeanors on June 10th to Hanan Youssef, journalist at al-Masaa daily newspaper. The court fined Youssef 10000 pounds in the case No. 3881 of 2012 for slandering Khaled Imam, former editor-in-chief of al-Masaa newspaper which is issued by the state-owned printing and publishing house "al-Tahrir".

Youssef's case goes back to March 2011 where protests proliferated in demand of a purge in state institutions from the associates of the former regime who worked for the State Security to control state employees and direct them to work in favor of the regime.

In the meantime, workers of al-Tahrir printing and publishing house, which issues multiple newspapers, protested to change the editors-in-chief of these newspapers because of their loyalty to the former regime and State Security. At the time, Khaled Imam was the editor-in-chief of al-Masaa newspaper.

Afterwards, and for past disputes between Youssef and Imam, the latter handed in a CD, which he had obtained illegally, to the prosecution. He accused her of slandering him with contempt. The court deliberated the case until it issued its sentence fining Youssef.

ANHRI is surprised over this sentence which penalized Youssef for exercising her right to criticism and for demanding a reform in the national press institutions. The publications of these institutions should be worthy of the revolution in which many Egyptians sacrificed their lives and health for democratization. The court punished an honest journalist for protesting on the basis of malicious accusations falsified because of previous work disputes that occurred due to her rejection of the State Security's policies in controlling national newspapers.

ANHRI also notes that 10000 pounds is a huge amount of money in the light of the deteriorating financial conditions of journalists. ANHRI's lawyers are going to appeal the sentence.

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