The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights
Important ruling by the Court of Cassation
Thursday 2 July 1998The 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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