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Journalist fined for alleged slander

(ANHRI/IFEX) - 12 June 2012 - ANHRI condemns the sentence handed on June 10th to Hanan Youssef, a journalist at al-Masaa daily newspaper. The court fined Youssef 10000 Egyptian pounds (approx. US$ 1650) for allegedly slandering Khaled Imam, former editor-in-chief of al-Masaa newspaper, which is issued by the state-owned printing and publishing house “al-Tahrir”.

Youssef's case goes back to March 2011, when protests demanding a purge of former regime associates from state institutions proliferated. In the meantime, workers at al-Tahrir printing and publishing house, which is responsible for issuing multiple newspapers, protested to change the editors-in-chief of these newspapers because of their loyalty to the former regime and State Security. At the time, Khaled Imam was the editor-in-chief of al-Masaa newspaper, where Youssef was also an employee. Imam went on to accuse Youssef of slandering him with contempt.

ANHRI is surprised by this sentence, which penalizes Youssef for exercising her right to criticism and for demanding a reform in the national press institutions. The publications of these institutions should be worthy of the revolution in which many Egyptians sacrificed their lives and health for. The court punished an honest journalist for protesting against and rejecting the State Security's control over national newspapers.

ANHRI also notes that 10000 Egyptian pounds is an excessive amount of money, bearing in mind the deteriorating financial conditions of journalists in the country. ANHRI's lawyers are going to appeal the sentence.
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