17 September 2013

Egypt: ANHRI Demands Dropping Charges Against the Journalist 'Ahmed Abu Deraa, Stopping Military Trials

press release

Cairo — "Ahmed Abu Deraa, a journalist who won Samir Kassir Award, will appear tomorrow, Wednesday, before the Military Court in Ismailia for the consideration of the second session of his exceptional trial over spreading false news about the armed forces, against the backdrop of his statements on a satellite channel concerning the Egyptian army's attack on Sheikh Zuweid village in North Sinai governorate", said the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI).

The Military Court considered the first session of the journalist's trial on Sunday 15 September, after the Prosecution referred him to the court on account of circulating false news and rumors about Egypt's internal situation on Arabic satellite channels intentionally. He transferred false news about the armed forces and the results of their processes in North Sinai; in a way that weakens the confidence in Egypt and its prestige. Then, the court decided to adjourn the trial till Wednesday 18 September for the inspection of document. Ahmed Abu Deraa, 38, works as a reporter for Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper and ON TV channel as well. He was arrested on Wednesday 4 September by the Egyptian army forces because of his coverage for the situation in Sinai, as the last coverage was about the raid on El-Toma and El-Mokata'a villages by the Egyptian army forces.

The Military Prosecution in Ismailia opened investigations with the journalist about the accusation of spreading false news about the Egyptian army and his presence in restricted military areas, in addition to filming them and the waterway of Suez canal without permission. It decided to take Abu Deraa into custody for 15 days pending investigations, then it referred him to the court. ANHRI demands the suspension of this exceptional trial against the journalist, and his urgent release, in addition to drop all the accusations against him because he was doing his job. Moreover, it is unacceptable to consider a public opinion case before a military court that doesn't provide the basic standards of a fair trial.

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information confirms its complete refusal of all the exceptional trials; specifically the military trials for civilians. In addition, it refuses to prosecute the journalists due to their job. ANHRI implores the Egyptian state to follow the legitimate legal ways and to move its lawsuit against the journalist before the court, not the military one, in order to achieve a fair trial for him.

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