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Covering up Torture is the Crime; and not disclosing it
The Accusations leveled against Al-Jazeera Journalist are Illegal

Cairo - 14 January 2007

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (HRinfo) condemns the investigation with Howayda Taha, Al-Jazeera TV Journalist. Taha is accused of possessing footages documenting torture in Egypt in order to be shown in a TV show by Al-Jazeera. Security forces confiscated the videotapes while Taha was on her way to Doha, Qatar last week.

State Security Prosecutor convicted Taha, yesterday, with two charges: filming scenes which may harm the national interests of the country, and possessing and transferring false footages which incorrectly describes the situation in Egypt!!

State Security Prosecutor decided to continue interrogations with Taha today.

This investigation came as a surprise. It reveals the sharp decline in the stance of Ministry of Interior which previously granted an official license to Taha and offered to help her in the preparation of the abovementioned TV show, according to Al-Jazeera.

"We cannot find charges similar to those leveled against Howayda Taha in any other country that respects freedom of press and has the minimum of democracy. These accusations are artificial and aim at covering up the crimes of torture widespread in Egypt, which were recently disclosed by the young and courageous Egyptian bloggers," HRinfo Executive Director, Gamal Eid said.

The harassments against Al-Jazeera staff become the standard methodology and the routine exercise of the Egyptian government. Such restrictions are, apparently, applied with the purpose to limit the boldness of Al-Jazeera in keeping abreast of events regardless of threats.

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information calls upon the Ministry of Interior and the Public Prosecutor to immediately drop the accusations leveled against Al-Jazeera journalist and to fight torture rather than punishing those who disclose it.

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