Cairo: — The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), today, denounced the verdict returned on December 3 by South Cairo Criminal Court to fine "Amr Abdel Rady"- a journalist in Al-Ahaly newspaper- EGP 15.000 for defamation charge against the backdrop of an articles was published in Al-Ahaly newspaper during the rule of Hosni Mubarak.
Al-Ahaly newspaper published the topic in its issue No. 1397 on 8 October 2008. The topic entitled "a communique to the attorney general against wasting people's money in Ministry of Health". The journalist had written about a communique was filed to the attorney general against an employee at the specialized medical councils, in which he was accused of issuing unlawful treatment decisions at the state's expense. As a result, "Mohamed Salem"- a member of the specialized medical councils- filed a complaint against the journalist, accusing the later of insulting a public servant.
The Public Funds Prosecution had investigated the corruption cases of Ministry of Health, which had been tackled by the journalist, and offered an administrative penalty on the mentioned employer. This administrative penalty proves the validity of the news published by Abdel Rady. However, the court continued the consideration of a defamation case against the journalist till it returned its verdict and fined Abdel Rady EGP 15.000.
ANHRI said, "Although the Egyptian revolution helped in many ways to reveal the corruption in the state's institutions and confirmed the information that had been published by the journalist, but this defective judgment came to disclose that the state still follows the same approach of predecessors. This, consequently, constitutes an attack on the right to realize what is happening inside the state's institutions. On the other hand, it is an attack on freedom of expression and press freedoms."
Journalist "Amr Abdel Rady", in his article, did not violate the permissible criticism through tackling a matter concerns a public servant and his job. The judgment against the journalist demonstrates that the Egyptian society needs a law for freedom to information, in order not to let journalists vulnerable to criminal trials in light of what they publish.
ANHRI calls for the suspension of the penalty against Amr Abdel Radgy. It also demands the suspension of criminal trials against journalists against the backdrop of their profession.