9 June 2008


Defamation case launched against blogger for reporting on environmental pollution is first of its kind

Incident details

Tamer Mabrouk

web dissident(s)

legal action
(ANHRI/IFEX) - According to ANHRI and the "Mosawah" Association for Human Rights, on 9 June 2008 the Azzohour Court of Port Said is expected to begin reviewing a unique case filed by Trust Chemicals Inc. against blogger Tamer Mabrouk. Tamer Mabrouk is the owner of "The Truth Blog", http://elhakika.blogspot.com
The blogger is accused of defamation for posting information that revealed that Trust Chemical had dumped chemicals into Manzallah Lake and the Suez Canal. Tamer Mabrouk also reported on harsh working conditions in the company. These conditions are the reasons behind a recent worker sit-in, where workers asked for access to copies of their contracts and demanded that the company stop firing workers arbitrarily.

A surprising detail of Trust Chemical's case is that the blogger did not directly write about the company, which is necessary for a valid defamation case. Tamer Mabrouk's blog story consisted only of photographs of the chemical dumping and reports of violations of workers' rights at the company. The blogged photos were noticed by the government newspaper "Almasaa", which lead the paper to describe the company as "the death factory in Port Said."

"This case aims to silence the voice of a blogger who is writing about the crime of polluting a lake that connects many cities and governorates in Egypt," said Rawda Ahmed, a lawyer at ANHRI. "The photos and the documents being published by the blogger are evidence of a very dangerous human rights violation and should lead to an investigation of the company that is threatening the health of millions of Egyptians and at the same time arbitrarily firing hundreds of contracted workers," Ahmed added.

"Mosawah" secretary Hany al-Gibaly remarked, "This case is a new episode in the persecution of internet bloggers. Tamer has unveiled a critical case of pollution in Port Said that is no less dangerous than Agrium's, so we must support the role he is playing."

ANHRI and "Mosawah" are questioning who suspended the campaign which was launched by some governmental and independent newspapers to prevent the dumping of chemical waste in one of Egypt's most important lakes. Tamer Mabrouk has uncovered the details of this crime through his blog. According to the two organisations, Trust Chemicals Inc. is trying to silence the blogger and is threatening to jail him in an attempt to bypass the crime of manipulating and endangering the health of millions of Egyptian citizens.


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