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Poet acquitted of insult charges

(ANHRI/IFEX) - On 18 July 2009, poet and teacher Mounir Saeed Hanna was acquitted in Adawa court in Menya of charges that he had insulted the president.

Mounir had been sentence to three years' imprisonment and a LE100,000 (approx. US$18,000) bail in what ANHRI describes as an "illegal trial" with a fabricated accusation of insulting the president.

Hamdi Al Assiouty, legal support unit counselor, said, "the Egyptian judiciary remains the first defense front of freedom of expression. In our defense we mentioned that the first instance trial was unfair and unpublicized and this is what the court of appeal referred to in its fair verdict."

"People have every right to write memos without security eavesdropping," he added.

The accused teacher used to write down his thoughts as poems, one of which was about oppression and inheritance. The said poem accidentally fell in the hands of security agents. Consequently, Mounir was immediately prosecuted and put to trial. These were the facts on which ANHRI lawyers built their defense.

ANHRI considers this success as the result of the combined effort between human rights NGOs and the independent press. The campaigns of "Al Masry", "Al Youm" and "Al Dostor" newspapers reported the case and revealed the facts to the public in support of freedom of expression. They asserted that the independent press and human rights NGOs should work together for the interests of the Egyptian people.

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