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Political activists' phone conversations illegally broadcast on Egyptian TV

Egyptian rights organizations filed a formal request on 31 December 2013 with the Attorney General demanding an immediate investigation into the broadcasting of activists' private telephone conversations by a TV talk show host.

Earlier this week, the host, Abdel Raheem Ali, who presents a programme called 'Black Box' on Al-Kahira Wal Nas TV channel, aired the private telephone conversations of political activists Mohamed Adel and Ahmed Maher.

The rights organizations demanded that an investigation be also conducted into the Vodafone company, the operator of the phone service used by the two activists, to determine whether it conspired to record and leak these conversations.

"This is a violation of the sanctity of private life and an illegal act which returns us to the hateful practices of the Mubarak era and his State Security Police. It is also a crime under Egyptian law," stated the organizations.

Under Egyptian law, the violation of privacy including eavesdropping or illegally recording or broadcasting conversation conducted privately without the consent of those concerned is an offence punishable by imprisonment.

'Black Box' TV Host Abdel Raheem Ali announced that he has even more private conversations to broadcast, "which goes to show his disregard for the law and his ability to act as if he had impunity. The Attorney General's office has a major responsibility to ensure its credibility and impartiality regardless of the political affiliations of all parties involved," said the organizations.

Regardless of the content of these conversations and whether they have been manipulated, they have either been illegally recorded and then offenders must be brought to justice or they were conducted with a judicial permission, in which instance the officials who leaked it should be held accountable and punished.

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