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Misdemeanors court acquits Cairo News Company and director of all charges

New victory for freedom of opinion and expression:
Acquittal of Nader Gohar and Cairo News Company

(ANHRI/IFEX) - Cairo, 19 April, 2009 - The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information expressed happiness over the decision of Bulaq Abul-Ela Misdemeanors Court to acquit Cairo News Company and its managing director Nader Gohar of unfair charges fabricated by security officials last year.

Gohar was sentenced on October 26, 2008 to a fine of 50.000 L.E. on a charge of possessing wireless communication devices and satellite broadcasting equipment and a fine of 100.000 L.E. for establishing and operating a communication network without a permit from the National Telecommunication Authority. The company also faced the permanent seizure of broadcasting equipment confiscated by security forces several months earlier.

It is to be noted that Hamdi el-Assyuti, Rawda Ahmed and Taher Abul Nasr, lawyers with the Legal Aid Unit for Freedom of Expression at the Arabic Network, as well as lawyer Khaled el-Deeb have defended the Cairo News Company and refuted all the fabricated charges through 11 appearances at both the first instance court and the court of appeal. Accordingly, the court ruled that all elements of the charges were not satisfied, so it issued today its verdict of acquittal on all charges against Gohar and the Cairo News Company, and nullified the decision to confiscate all equipment, which is valued in millions.

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information said that "There is nothing as wonderful as restoring the right of a victim of injustice and acquitting an accused of such fabricated charges. It is a happy day for all defenders of freedom of expression."

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