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Egyptian blogger gets 3 months in prison for insulting interior ministry
Ahmed Anwar posted a video online which mocked the interior ministry
Ahram Online, Thursday 23 Jan 2014
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Blogger Ahmad Anwar
Screenshot of Blogger Ahmad Anwar's YouTube Video

An Egyptian court sentenced a blogger to three months in prison on Thursday for “insulting the interior ministry” and “deliberately provoking others using the internet.”

Ahmed Anwar had posted a video posted to YouTube last year which mocked the Ministry of the Interior.

Tanta Economic Misdemeanour Court, which is responsible for crimes that deal with the internet or other communication tools, sentenced Anwar to three months in prison and a LE10,000 fine.

The video, titled “The Relationship Between Marwa, the Ministry of the Interior and Deteriorating Security” focused on a ceremony held by the ministry honouring several singers and actors who had “raised policemen’s morale.”

In a joint statement, the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) and the Arab Network for Human Rights (ANHRI) on Thursday stated that “this cruel verdict comes days after the Egyptian authorities announced that the people voted “yes” to a constitution which includes in Article 71 the inadmissibility of any penalty depriving liberty in crimes committed by way of publication or publicity, making this judgement a violation of the constitution, requiring its cancellation.”

The statement alleged that transitional authorities are not tolerating any critical voices who call for reforming security institutions and the trial of corrupt regime icons.

The statement mentioned other bloggers who faced charges of jail sentences including leaders of the 6 April Youth Movement Ahmed Maher and Mohamed Adel, and other prominent political activists such as Ahmed Douma, Mahienour El-Masry, Hassan Mostafa, Mona Seif, and Alaa Abdel-Fattah.

The legal affairs director of Gharbiya security directorate filed a complaint against Anwar over the video, and the prosecution issued an arrest warrant for him on 17 March 2013, referring him to the Tanta Partial Court on 27 March.

“The Tanta court then referred me once more to the Economic Misdemeanour Court due to their lack of jurisdiction,” Anwar told Ahram Online on Thursday. His appeal against the verdict will be heard on 2 February.

AFTE and ANHRI called on the government to drop charges against Anwar and to “reform the Egyptian police, instead of prosecuting its critics for the weak performance in providing security to the Egyptian street,” the statement said.





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2



Jon
24-01-2014 12:10pm
7-
17+
Insulting public offices should not be a crime
Firstly, institutions don't have feelings - only people have. The notion that you could "insult" the judiciary or a ministry is absurd. In Western Europe, it is not possible to be convicted for insulting an institution. Secondly, when quite voluntarily running for election and assuming the position as an elected official, you must carry the burden that comes with the job. One of the burdens is public criticism. In order for this critically important feature of democracy to work, politicians in democratic countries are largely exempt from defaming laws: They must take what comes. The defaming and insulting processes, that were also numerous under Morsi, is a major distraction and the laws should be changed.
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1



Alejandro
23-01-2014 09:19pm
138-
41+
The Ikwan is irrelevant to this issue
No doubt, someone will claim somehow this is a conspiracy by the Ikwan, that somehow Ahmed Anwar is acting at the behest of a religious-Masonic-globalist conspiracy. Yeah right, what is happening is that the police state can dish out criticism but cannot take it. No one seriously believes the McCarthite lies anymore. Those defending this sentence claim that everyone is part of the Ikwan. Might as well claim that Sisi is an Ikwani, he is after all a fervent believer in his magical dreams and was appointed by the Ikwan in the first place. It is like Mao claiming that capitalists were hiding under the bed, lurking everywhere. LOL.
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Alejandro
24-01-2014 03:58pm
7-
24+
Focus on the subject
Nadia, if you are not going to address the actual topic, it is you who should spare us. Do you actually support convicting Ahmed Anwar over something he posted on the internt? It is not civilized to arrest people over posting something critical of a government minister or the judidicary on twitter or somewhere else. Were you allright with critics of Mubarak, Scaf, or Morsi being fined? For you arguments to be taken seroiusly, you must address the actual subject.
Nadia
24-01-2014 03:13am
25-
15+
LOL
Alejandro ! You again ? Please have a mercy on us.

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