Egypt: EOHR Demands the Suspension of Investigations of Al Masry Al Youm's Case

press release

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) expresses its deep concern regarding the legal complaints filed against Al Masry Al Youm lately. The complaints accused the daily newspaper of propagating false rumors to discredit the 2018 presidential elections. EOHR finds investigating such cases as a violation of the right to freedom of opinion and expression which is safeguarded by the Egyptian Constitution and International Human Rights law.

The State Security prosecution released former editor in chief of Al Masry Al Youm Mr. Mohamed Al Sayed Salah on bail and still Mr. Salah is still subject to the pending investigations of case number 559 of 2018. In the case the State Security Prosecution charged Mr. Salah with smearing the 2018 presidential elections through spreading fake news. The prosecution also released 8 other Al Masry Al Youm journalists who were interrogated on account of the same case. It's worth mentioning that Al Masry Al Youm has already paid a hefty fine on account of these allegations, and Mr. Salah was sacked from his post as editor in chief due to the same reason.

EOHR strongly condemns such irresponsible practices and expresses its deep concern regarding the abysmal state of freedom of expression, the press and the media in Egypt under these circumstances. EOHR reminds the Egyptian authorities that such freedoms are safeguarded by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which Egypt is party to. In addition, that on Article 71 of the constitution prohibits imposing any form of censorship over the press and the media and it doesn't their closure, suspension or confiscation. The article also dictates that no penalty that deprives an individual from his freedom maybe applied in publishing crimes.

Dr. Hafez Abu Seada the president of EOHR called upon the competent authorities to immediately cease their investigations in this case and considered such behaviour as blatant violation of the right to freedom of expression and opinion. Abu Seada also demanded that the State should review and amend all laws that restrict freedom of the press and the media and their right to gather and publish information. Abu Seada concluded that such review and amendment should be undertaken in accordance with international human rights treaties and conventions.

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