Journalist and blogger fined and sentenced to six months in jail
Mansour and Fadl were each fined EGP 50,000 (approx. US$8,700) on charges of "creating a communications network and offering communications services without a permit". The court ordered the three defendants to pay a preliminary fine of EGP 5001.
ANHRI said that it had hoped that Al Gallad would not sue another journalist because of his blog posts. Al Gallad should have been the first to defend press freedom, and disputes between journalists over publications should be resolved by the union or should be taken to the civil judiciary. A journalist who resorts to filing a claim against another journalist in a criminal court provides justification to the many enemies of press freedom in Egypt.
This is the first case in which internet café owners have been convicted in Egypt. The court ruled that Shehata was capable of insult and libel only because he visited the internet café and used its facilities. The owners of the café, however, bear no responsibility for how their customers use the telephone and internet service.
ANHRI said it will appeal the verdict against Shehata and the internet café owners and expressed hope that Al Gallad would respond to its call by dropping the case and accepting a more suitable settlement to the dispute, in support of freedom of the press and asserting a refusal to resort to the criminal courts in publication cases.