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Egypt court acquits TV host Ahmed Moussa of insulting journalist El-Ghazali Harb

Moussa's appeal against his jail sentence for insulting El-Ghazali Harb on his TV show in September 2014 has been accepted

Ahram Online , Tuesday 23 Jun 2015
TV host Ahmed Moussa
TV host Ahmed Moussa
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A Cairo court acquitted Egyptian TV host Ahmed Moussa of insulting and defaming writer and former chief of the Democratic Front party Osama El-Ghazali Harb on Tuesday.

The court has accepted Moussa's appeal against a two-year jail sentence which was issued in absentia that a misdemeanors court issued against him in March for insulting El-Ghazli Harb.

Moussa was also fined LE 20,000 in the initial verdict.

Moussa, who appealed the absentia verdict, was not apprehended by the authorities after the initial ruling.

On his TV show "I take responsibility" on Sada El-Balad TV channel on 20 September 2014, Moussa claimed that Harb had conspired against Egypt and received foreign funds.

Harb had accused several media outlets of tarnishing the image of the 2011 revolution in an article titled “The counter-revolution” for the Ahram daily newspaper earlier on the same day.

Moussa, who is also a journalist for Ahram, is known to be a staunch opponent of the January 25 revolution that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak after three decades of rule. He had repeatedly launched verbal attacks on activists associated with the 2011 uprising, but had never before been summoned to court over such attacks.

He is also a strong supporter of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and his government.

El-Ghazli Harb told the Ahram Arabic news website that he respected the Egyptian judiciary and its rulings.

"But I sued Moussa for insulting me on his show," he added, saying that millions had watched Moussa defame him on TV.

When the Journalists Syndicate tried to reach an out-of-court settlement to end the saga between both journalists, El-Ghazali Harb said that he would only drop the lawsuit against Moussa, if the latter apologised for insulting the revolutionaries of the 2011 uprising.

Early this month, a misdemeanors court sentenced Moussa to a year in jail in absentia for slander against former presidential candidate Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh. 

Last year, the Journalists Syndicate questioned him over allegedly breaching the media code of ethics and attacking the 2011 revolt, following several complaints by fellow journalists against him. 

Moussa has also received jail terms in two separate cases for insulting both a lawyer for Zamalek football club fan group the Ultras White Knights, and the head of Egypt's official auditing authority.

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