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
Insulting The President , Case Adjourned to 18/7/2009
Cairo in 27/6/2009
The misdemeanors court , Adawa, Menya decided to adjourn the case of insulting the president to 18\7\2009.
The case dates back to April 2008 ,when the police arrested the defendant Mounir Saad Hanna , a clerk in the education administration in Adawa , Menya accusing him of writing a poem insulting the Egyptian president . He was prosecuted without having a lawyer as stated in the Code of Criminal Procedure. He was tried without any defense and was sentenced to 3 years in jail and a bail of 100000 LE.
ANHRI Legal support unit , adopted the case in collaboration with Akram Wahib. ANHRI team , Hamdy Al Assiouty and Hoda Nasrallah stated that it seems that Menya province is applying a law of its own.
The code of criminal procedures was completely violated where prosecution and court were bound to assign a lawyer for the defendant.
In addition to that none of the so named offensive verses were included in the prosecution report. The heavy- handed ruling of the first instance court was declared without any justification to neither the imprisonment nor to the huge bail which was so unaffordable to Mounir that he will remain in jail till the next hearing on 18\7\2009.
Apart from the prosecution and trial procedures being invalid, the poem, in essence, is a six-verse hand written one, not the least announced or distributed which makes the whole case void of value as there is no law in the world that convicts people for personal memos and crude drafts even political ones.
The lawyers of the legal support unit at ANHRI state that the freedom of an individual is threatened now that writing memos is a gateway to 3 years of prison whereas the police officer Islam Nabih who tortured a suspect was released before term expiry and is back to work. This explicitly shows the stand of the Egyptian regime regarding freedom of expression versus torturing citizens.
ANHRI insists on sentencing the defendant innocent , as only the law should be the reference and the sole arbitrator between Egyptians and the Egyptian regime . Police and judges in Menya should commit themselves to Egyptian laws, though not the best there is , but they guarantee the bare minimum of the freedom of expression for Egyptians and laws have to be obeyed.