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The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights

Important ruling by the Court of Cassation
Revoking previous ruling against journalists Magdi Hussein and Mohammed Hilal

Thursday 2 July 1998

The EOHR was relieved to learn about the important ruling made by the Court
of Cassation today, Thursday 2 July 1998, revoking previous ruling made
against journalists Magdi Ahmed Hussein and Mohammed Hilal by the North
Cairo Court of Appeals for Misdemeanors in lawsuits no. 6076 of 1996, and
10296 of 1996.  The Court of Cassation revoked the ruling in the first
lawsuit and ordered a retrial in the second.  It also ordered that the
second party, Alaa Al-Alfi, son of the former minister of the interior,
pays the legal costs.  Upon this ruling, Magdi Ahmed Hussein and Mohammed
Hilal will be released after spending about four months in prison.

On 24 February 1998, the North Cairo Court of Appeals for Misdemeanors
sentenced both Magdi Ahmed Hussein, editor-in-chief of Al-Shaab newspaper,
and Mohammed Hilal, journalist at the same paper, to one year in prison
with labor, and ordered that they pay the legal fees and a temporary civil
compensation of  LE 501.  Since then, the two journalists have been placed
in the Mazra'it Tora Prison. 

The EOHR welcomes the ruling made by the Court of Cassation and believes it
to be a positive step towards the freedom of opinion and expression. 
Meanwhile, it calls on the Egyptian government to promptly release all
other detained journalists, and revise all freedom restricting laws related
to publication offences.  This revision is essential for the respect for
freedom of opinion and expression which is basic for a democratic society
and for the commitment to the international human rights instruments
ratified by the Egyptian government.  

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