IFJ Welcomes Court Victory for Journalists in Egypt and Demand "Full Exoneration"

The International Federation

of Journalists (IFJ) today welcomed the decision of the Court of Appeal in Cairo, Egypt

to remove jail sentences imposed on four editors who were prosecuted on the

charges of "harming the public interest" and called for their fines to be scrapped

as well.

"We welcome this Court's

decision which is the result of our colleagues' determination not to let an

unjust outcome stand," said Aidan White,

IFJ General Secretary. "They now deserve full exoneration by removal of the

fine as well."

According to media  reports, the Appeal Court in Cairo on Saturday quashed the one year jail

sentence which had been handed in 2007 to Adel

Hammouda, Wael Ibrashi, Ibrahim Eissa and Abdel Halim Qandil, respectively

editors of the weekly al-Fagr, the weekly Sawt al-Umma, the daily al-Dustour and the weekly al-Karama.

 

The

journalists were prosecuted following articles published in their newspapers

which allegedly were critical of President Hosni Mubarak, top officials or the

President's son. In addition to one year jail term, they were also fined 20,000

Egyptian pounds (2557 euro) and paid 10,000 pounds (1278 euro) for conditional

release during their appeals.

The IFJ protested at the

sentence saying the "verdict appears to

signal that the Egyptian government is engaged in a dangerous crackdown on

freedom of the press."

The organization says that there is no justification for the fine which

was confirmed by the Appeal Court's

ruling.

"The fine can longer stand,"

added White. "Now that the jail term as the principal basis for it has been

removed, the fine serves no purpose other than as a stain to the journalists'

reputation."

For more information contact the IFJ at

+32 2 235 2207 

The IFJ represents over

600,000 journalists in 123 countries worldwide