The Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) yesterday denounced the prosecution and harassment of anti-government journalists in Egypt saying these methods were being used to silence the voice of the opposition.
ANHRI mentioned the detention of Mohamed Madani, who worked for Misr 25 TV channel, which, along with other channels supporting the opposition, was closed immediately after the military coup.
The organisation said: “Prior to his arrest, security forces invaded his house and took him to an unknown place. His apprehension goes against the Constitution’s articles.”
It noted that the Constitution stipulate that the journalist must be informed of the reasons for his detention once he is arrested, besides giving him the right to telephone whom he wants.
Meanwhile, ANHRI said journalist Samah Ibrahim, who was working for the Freedom and Justice newspaper, was sentenced to one year in jail with hard labour yesterday.
Ibrahim was detained while she was covering the referendum on the Constitutional amendments on January 14. She was accused of attempting to disrupt the referendum.
On the same day, a military court held a hearing for the journalist Amr Al-Qazzaz, co-founder of the Rassd Network, and Islam Al-Homsi, the director of the social media department at the network. Both were accused of publishing leaked videos of Field Marshal Abdul-Fattah Al-Sisi.
ANHRI believes that the criminal prosecution of journalists constitutes a clear violation of freedom of expression the freedom of the press. It also proves that the acting authorities are trying to silence the voices of opposition.
The organisation reiterated that “military trials of civilians in general and journalists in particular serve as a flagrant encroachment on the right to have a fair trial.”
In addition, it considered the detention and prosecution of journalists as criminals in military courts a clear intention of the government not to comply with the principles of its Constitution.
It also called upon the Egyptian authorities to release all journalists, re-investigate their charges over old crimes and try those who plead guilty before a civil court.