14 March 2007

Alert

Judge seeks to have HRinfo's website, 20 others blocked for "tarnishing government and president's reputation"


Incident details

web dissident(s)

legal action
(HRinfo/IFEX) - HRinfo condemns Judge Abdel Fattah Mourad for taking on a case calling for the Egyptian government to block 21 Egyptian websites and blogs, as reported by the "Rozal Youssef" newspaper on 2 March 2007.

According to the front page report, Judge Mourad, head of the Alexandria Appeals Court, raised a case before the State Council Court against the prime minister, ministers of information, communication, justice, and the interior, and the public prosecutor, demanding a court sentence compelling the prime minister to shut down the 21 websites and blogs because they contain reports that allegedly tarnish the reputation of Egypt and insult the Egyptian president.

The news report, which the judge has not denied, said he called for the shutdown of the websites of "Nahdat Misr" newspaper, HRinfo, "Al-Ghadd" newspaper, Kefaya, Good News company, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) and Iraqi News Agency, in addition to blogs such as Annals of the Trees Owner, One of the Humans, Egyptian Girl, The Nation is Fatima, and other human rights and news websites.

"We are not ruling out that the judge, who disregards the copyrights of others, will not call for the blocking of human rights and news websites that have posted information on the plagiarism incident. Most of these websites have supported HRinfo's stance in defending its right," HRinfo Executive Director Gamal Eid said.

"The Judge's several telephone calls to HRinfo have failed to dissuade us from our demand that he publish an apology for his actions, which are in contradiction to the values of scientific research and copyright. The judge has re-published large parts of HRinfo's report on freedom to use the Internet in the Arab world in his book, without referring to the source. In addition, he distorted the content of the HRinfo report. His attempts to threaten and instil fear in us will fail as well. We defend the right to freedom of expression and our rights, irrespective of who is violating such rights," Eid added.

HRinfo is insisting that the judge write an apology for plagiarising its report. HRinfo is also demanding that the Judges' Club take all necessary steps to redress the violated rights. HRinfo and other supportive organizations have announced that they will accept any procedure taken by the Judges' Club with regard to this issue, before HRinfo asks the public prosecutor and the Supreme Council for Judges to lift the immunity of the judge and put him on trial for violating copyright by plagiarizing nearly 50 pages of HRinfo's report.

"We have granted the judge a long period to put things right. However, he preferred to take the path of threats by raising this case to dissuade us from demanding out rights. We are proud of the Egyptian judiciary and are confident that they will understand any steps that we will be taking soon to ensure that the judge becomes an example to others who violate copyright. The crime is worse when the violator is a judge, supposedly the first to defend such rights," Eid said.

"We will raise a case against this judge in his position as a citizen who has violated our copyright and distorted our report for the sake of financial profit," he added.

For more information, please visit: http://www.hrinfo.net/en/reports/2007/pr0211.shtml


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