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Two IFEX members request an end to the persecution of journalist Howeida Taha

(CIHRS/IFEX) - The following is a 16 January 2007 joint action signed by CIHRS, EOHR and other organisations:

Cairo,16 January 2007 - Human Rights Organizations request an end to harassment of media personnel and a suspension of the interrogation of Howeida Taha

The prosecution released, the day before yesterday, the Egyptian journalist Howeida Taha on bail of LE 10,000. Authorities had formerly held her under custody for interrogation, based on the fact that she had prepared a documentary program on citizens' complaints about the Egyptian police machinery. She was accused of being involved in acts harming Egyptian national interests, obtaining and imparting deceitful photos and giving an incorrect account of the situation in the country.

The undersigned organizations are of the opinion that the continued violation of human rights principles by the security forces of the Ministry of the Interior, and their systematic assault on citizens' freedoms, represent a real threat to Egyptian citizens, who spent decades dreading the idea of entering a police station, and who continue to be terrified of security personnel because of the cruel treatment awaiting them in the corridors of these horrendous stations. The Ministry of the Interior has repeatedly and constantly denied these facts, and deemed them as "prejudiced rumours", but filmed scenes, known as "torture clips", have been circulated through the Internet and have disclosed all the facts.

We human rights organizations welcome legal actions against all security officers appearing on the videotaped documents, and if allegations against them of having assaulted the dignity, rights, and honour of citizens made are proven, they should receive due punishment.

Meanwhile, we demand an end to the harassment of journalists, media personnel, and human rights defenders and activists who have disclosed and are still disclosing such crimes. We also request the suspension of the interrogation of journalist Howeida Taha, while providing all the necessary guarantees that neither she nor any of her colleagues involved in the exposure of and alleviation of such crimes, will be harassed or attacked.

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
The Arab Organization for Penal Reform
Egyptian Organization for Human Rights
Egyptian Association for Supporting Democratic Development
The Egyptian Center for Women's Rights
Human Rights Association for the Assistance of Prisoners
Habi Center for Environmental Rights
Association for Democracy Development
Andalus Institute for Tolerance and Anti Violence Studies
New Women Foundation

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies

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