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Egyptian authorities issue gag order on former attorney-general's trial

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) strongly denounces the Public Prosecution's decision to issue a gag order for the second time in cases that are a matter of interest to public opinion.

Mohammed Shireen, the investigative judge assigned by the Ministry of Justice, decided to prohibit the dissemination of any information collected during investigations conducted with the former attorney-general, Talaat Abdullah, 75 judges affiliated with Tayyar Al-Istiqlal, the independence movement, as well as protesters camping at the pro-Morsi sit-in in Rabaa Al-Adawiya square, and members of the 'Judges for Egypt' movement.

Media-outlets and newspapers were told to comply with the gag order or face penalties applicable by the law. The authorities justified the decision by noting the sensitive nature of the case and the defendant judges' positions, as well as in an attempt not to affect the entire judiciary.

It is worth mentioning that Counselor Hassan Samir, the judge assigned by the Ministry of Justice in the 25 January 2011 case of the storming of prisons and police stations ¬– in which ousted president Mohamed Morsi is a defendant along with others from the Muslim Brotherhood – had issued a decision towards the end of July to prohibit the dissemination of news related to the case via any readable, visual, or audible media-outlets.

ANHRI notes that it is a violation of the freedom of the press and the public's right now to prohibit the dissemination and the exchange of updated information regarding the investigation.

“The Egyptian judiciary and the new authorities must uphold the values and principles of transparency in this current stage and must disclose information regarding the course of events in the ongoing investigations conducted with the Muslim Brotherhood and governmental public figures,” stated ANHRI, adding that the public deserves to review these cases and judge the severity of them.

ANHRI demands that the authorities rescind the gag order issued in Morsi's trial and the trial of Talaat Abdullah as well as, the 75 judges and members of the 'Judges for Egypt' movement. It calls on the authorities to adhere to international standards of a fair and just trial.

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