Seizure to freedom of opinion and expression in Egypt
A state decree to imprison Abdel Nasser El Zoheri
Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue Association (FDHRD) expresses its deep concern to prison sentences in publication cases continuous phenomenon. The verdict was issued by the Criminal Court stated one-year imprisonment with hard labour to the journalist Abdel Nasser El Zoheri of his published article 'Search Warrant in Ibrahim Soliman Office', it was published in Al-Masry al-Younm, issue (18 / 8 / 2004).
While on this domain, former Housing Minister/ Dr Ibrahim Soliman had previously sue a suit against the journalists El Zoheri, Alaa El Ghatrifi and Yousef El Oamy, the court then decided to imprison El- Zoheri and freed the other two defendants via a fine of ten thousands LE.
In light of the forum's support to the assault done against El-Zoheri, it calls for the annulment to prison sentences in publication cases which curb the journalists' freedom to express themselves through defending citizens and the state's demands and also violate journalist' right to personal security. In addition FDHRD calls upon the government to re amend the constitution's laws concerning penal code's provisions which encourage prison sentences in publication cases, issue a unified law for press freedom determines rights and duties of the journalists and stresses on press independence away from the Executive influence and power which guarantee freedom of opinion and expression, also the society will never proceed forward unless the state start annulling unjust decrees which violate journalists' right to freedom and personal security.
Accordingly, FDHRD calls upon Journalists Syndicate, members of People's Assembly and civil society associations to represent a plea to the Prosecutor - General in order to halt the court's prison sentence against El Zoheri until Court of Cassation issue its decree on the appeal, on the other hand he had to influence the government to start practicing the new law termed to annul prison sentences in publication cases, which was first mentioned on February 2004 during the public conference for journalists, where the President issued the presidential pledge announced by Safwat El Sherif/ the former Minister of Information.