5 April 2007

Alert

HRinfo director, two bloggers, accused of "insult" and "defamation", detained for questioning as harassment campaign against the organisation continues


Incident details

Gamal Eid, Manal Hassan, Alaa Seif

(HRinfo/IFEX) - HRinfo has announced that it will not be terrorised into giving up its right to sue Judge Abdel Fattah Mourad for violating HRinfo's copyrights.

Judge Mourad has initiated many court actions, including one accusing HRinfo Executive Director Gamal Eid and bloggers Manal Hassan and Alaa Seif - the administrators of http://manalaa.net- of insult and defamation.

Eid was surprised to find that he was accused along with Seif and Hassan in an insult and defamation case that was initiated by Judge Mourad against them. After the prosecutor finished questioning the three and ordered that they be released on their own recognizance, the police continued to detain them for over 10 hours on the pretext of finishing procedures, which started at 1:00 p.m. (local time) and ended at midnight.

In addition to the false accusations that the judge is making, the three were surprised to find that the same lawyer who filed a "hisba" - a civil law complaint based on Islamic principles - against the currently-imprisoned blogger Kareem Amer, is one of the witnesses brought in by the judge. It is worth noting that the lawyer had previously accused Amer's lawyers, including Eid, of being infidels for defending Amer.

"The judge violated our copyrights and when we exposed this he filed a lawsuit to block HRinfo's website and 20 others," Gamal Eid, HRinfo Executive Director, said.

"Today he is filing a criminal case against Alaa, Manal, and me, and we have been informed of another criminal case against Ahmed Seif Al-Islam, Director of the Hesham Mubarak Center for Law, and others.

"This campaign targets not only HRinfo but also all those who support it. We know that the battle is not easy and we will understand if others surrender, but we will not, even if this entails the shut down of HRinfo and the imprisonment of its director. We will not give up our rights. This judge plagiarized large parts of our report and paraphrased some sentences for a book he sells," Eid added.

HRinfo has filed complaints with the Public Prosecutor, the Supreme Council of Judiciary and the Minister of Justice, demanding an investigation into the plagiarism incident and that all legal steps necessary to lift Judge Mourad's immunity from criminal prosecution be taken .

"We are seeking a neutral investigation into this case regardless of who are the parties. This is the foundation of justice," Eid said.

"We appreciate and have the highest respect for Egypt's judges and for this purpose we will be providing the Judges' Club in Cairo and Alexandria a file with all the details of the cases and we are willing to respond to any of their questions. Our battle is against this judge for violating our and others' copyrights, trying to block websites and blogs, and imprisoning lawyers and bloggers for refusing to tolerate that kind of violation," he added.

It is worth mentioning that the State Council Court had specified 7 April 2007 as the date for considering the case of blocking the websites of HRinfo and 20 other organisations.



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