The Internet In the Arab World
A New Space of Repression?
No Rules, No Limits
United Arab Emirates:
Freedom of expression is missing despite a decision banning imprisonment for press crimes
Another Round in the Battle for Freedom of Expression
Judge Murad appeals against the judgment supporting freedom of internet
Cairo, March 15, 2008
Supreme Administrative Court begins next Monday March 17 to consider the appeal filed by Judge Abdul Fattah Murad against the judgment of the administrative court on December 29, 2007, which supported the freedom of the Internet and freedom of expression in Egypt.
Judge Murad had filed a lawsuit last March 2007, against the Cabinet "Council of Ministers" and a number of ministries, calling for banning the websites of 21 human rights organizations, newspapers and blogs on the Internet. He then increased the number of websites required to be banned to 49 website including several international human rights organizations and media institutions, alleging that these websites are "terrorist" and tarnish the reputation of Egypt and the Arab governments. However, the Administrative Court judged in favor of freedom of expression and thus, rejected the case, emphasizing the right of freedom to use the Internet & circulation of information.
Judge Murad did not accept the judgment, so he appealed against it before the Supreme Administrative Court, which decided to begin consideration of the appeal on Monday, March 17, 2008.
Brief background on the case:
At the beginning of February 2007, following the discovery of the Arab Network for Human Rights Information that Judge Abdul Murad had copied dozens of pages of one of the reports of the Network entitled "Implacable Opponent, the Internet and Arab governments," and included these pages in a book entitled " Scientific and Legal Assets for Blogs on the Internet", without reference or permission for the copying from our report, which is a frank violation of the rules of scientific research and intellectual property laws.
He then refused to confess this crime or even to provide an apology, but rather he fabricated several lawsuits against the Arabic Network and Hisham Mubarak Law Center, and some bloggers, as well as attempting to ban several press websites and blogs that published about the crime of violating intellectual property.
He also requested to ban websites of several human rights organizations, which stood in solidarity with the Arabic Network, as an attempt to obscure the crime and mislead the public opinion through the allegation that such websites are "terrorist" and tarnish the reputation of Egypt and Arab countries.
The Administrative Court provided a judgment in favor of freedom of expression and refused to ban any of the websites. However, the judge appealed against the judgment to start a new round between supporters of freedom of expression and the judge who might have thought that the delay of the public prosecution to take off his judicial immunity (as requested by the Arabic Network regarding the lawsuit of violating their intellectual property) is in support of his position in the assault on copyrights of the Arabic Network and in support of his fabrication of lawsuits against bloggers and human rights activists.
For more information on the case: