19 January 1998


Books confiscated

Incident details


(EOHR/IFEX) - According to reports, on Wednesday 14 January 1998, the
artistic production police confiscated two books by lawyer Khalil
Abdel-Kareem. The books in question are "The Yathrib Society" (Yathrib is
the old name of the town of Medina, in Saudi Arabia) and "The Rababa songs
on the Companions of Prophet Mohammed." The two books were confiscated from
the Sina'a Publishing House. Mrs. Rawya Abdel-Azeem, director of the
publishing house, said that an officer from the Cairo artistic production
police office broke into the publishing house and seized the 15 available
copies of the two books. The officer is said to have reported that the
confiscation was ordered by the Higher State Security Prosecution which was
told by the Al-Azhar Islamic Research Academy that the two books harmed the
image of the Companions of the Prophet Mohammed.

Recommended Action

Send appeals to authorities:

  • condemning the policy adopted by some of the state's institutions towards
    thought and academic research
  • affirming that confiscation is a violation of article 47 of the
    Constitution which states: "Freedom of opinion is guaranteed. Every
    individual has the right to express his opinion and to publicize it verbally
    or in writing or by photography or by other means within the limits of the law"
  • further reminding them that such action also contravenes article 49 of the
    Constitution which states: "The state shall guarantee the freedom of
    scientific research and literary, artistic and cultural invention and
    provide the necessary means for its realization"
  • pointing out that the confiscation of books is inconsistent with Egypt's
    international commitments as a signatory party to the International Covenant
    on Civil and Political Rights, which asserts repeatedly the freedom of
    opinion, expression, thought and belief.
  • objecting to the intellectual and religious guardianship practiced by
    Al-Azhar Islamic Research Academy on thought, opinion and expression

    Appeals To

    His Excellency Mohammad Hosni Mubarak
    President of the Arab Republic of Egypt
    Oruba Palace
    Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt
    Fax: +202 260 5417 / 355 5700

    Farouk Seif al-Naser
    Minister of Justice
    Lazoghly Square
    Mounira, Cairo, Egypt
    Fax: +202 355 5700

    Amir Moussa
    Minister of Foreign Affairs
    Cairo, Egypt
    Fax: +202 574 9149

    General Hassan al-Alfy
    Minister of the Interior
    Ministry of the Interior
    Al-Sheikh Rihan Street
    Bab al-Louk, Cairo
    Fax: +202 355 7792

    Ms Nayla Gabr
    The Human Rights Department
    Ministry of Foreign Affairs
    Corniche al-Nil, Cairo, Egypt
    Fax: +202 574 9808

    Mr Raga' al-'Arabi
    Public Prosecutor
    Dar al-Qadha al-'Ali
    Ramses Street
    Cairo, Egypt

    Dr Fathi Sorour
    The People's Assembly
    Magles al-Sha'ab Street, Cairo, Egypt

    Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

  • Source

    Egyptian Organization for Human Rights
    8/10 Mathaf El Manial St
    Manial El Roda
    Cairo, Egypt
    eohr (@) eohr.org
    Fax:+ 20 22 3621613
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