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Egyptian rights group calls for suspension of freedom of expression cases

A tram is seen in Alexandria, Egypt, 17 November 2017; journalist Mai Al Sabagh and photographer Ahmed Mostafa were arrested for an investigative report on tram inspectors
A tram is seen in Alexandria, Egypt, 17 November 2017; journalist Mai Al Sabagh and photographer Ahmed Mostafa were arrested for an investigative report on tram inspectors

Dominic Dudley/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) has condemned recent violations of freedom of expression in Egypt and called on the government to "accept all freedoms in general and freedom of the media in particular".

"The most alarming among these developments was the arrest of playwright Walid Atef and Director Ahmed Al Garhi on account of their latest play (Sulieman Khater). Atef and Al Garhi were referred to the military prosecution and have been in military custody ever since. The military prosecution accused both Atef and Al Garhi of insulting the Armed Forces and the artists are expected to stand military trial because of their artistic work."

EOHR also reported the case of a pro-government talk show host, Khairy Ramadan, "arrested for reading the message of a police officer's wife complaining about low income and bad living conditions of members of the police force and their families."

Dr. Hafez Abu Seada, the president of EOHR, noted how such cases violate freedom of speech and further complicate the human rights situation in Egypt. The organisation has called for the suspension of all investigations of cases relating to freedom of expression and opinion.

You can read EOHR's full article here.

EOHR has also reported that journalist Mai Al Sabagh and photographer Ahmed Mostafa were arrested for an investigative report on tram inspectors.

"The police arrested them and referred them to the prosecution and the prosecutor charged Al Sabagh and Mostafa of possessing recording equipment with the aim of spreading false news to undermine public security and the state, harm[ing] national interests, and recording material without approval from the ministry of culture."

EOHR expressed concerns about the arrests, noting that "Mai Al Sabagh was exercising her duties and inalienable rights as a journalist, and making a video report lies perfectly within her professional domain of journalism, therefore EOHR views her arrest as a blatant violation of the constitution and international human rights law, both of which protect and guarantee freedom of expression and the press."

You can read EOHR's full article here.

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