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Activist wins appeal

(ANHRI/IFEX) - Cairo, 29 February 2012 - ANHRI welcomes the acquittal of Gaber al-Sayed Gaber, as issued by al-Wayli Misdemeanor Appeal Court in the hearing of 29 February 2012. Gaber was sentenced to one year in prison on 26 December 2011 because of a communiqué criticizing the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF), which he distributed on 23 December 2011. Gaber was detained, investigated, and sentenced in three days time.

On 23 December 2011, Gaber distributed a communiqué in Abbasiya square, calling for the completion of the goals of the Egyptian revolution and criticizing the performance of the SCAF in the transitional phase. Some supporters of the ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak arrested him and turned him in to security services, which in turn referred him to a hasty trial. In three days time, the Court of First Instance sentenced him to one year in prison and fined him 200 pounds and a bail of 1000 pounds. This sentence was the hastiest and toughest of its kind against freedom of expression following the revolution of 15 January which overthrew the ousted president Mubarak.

Subsequently, given the errors in the sentence of the Court of First Instance as Gaber did not commit any offense but only exercised his legitimate right to free and peaceful expression, Gaber's lawyers at ANHRI appealed the sentence before the Appeal Court (appeal No. 12 for the year 2012). The first hearing of the appeal case was held on 18 January 2012, and the hearings deliberated until Gaber was acquitted of the charges against him.

“This ruling is a victory for freedom of expression and contains the message that it is no longer easy for any authority to be immune from criticism through referring its detractors to hasty trials on flimsy charges by the Attorney-General,” said ANHRI.

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