El-Shorouk reporter, MP in jail, LE10,000 fine each

Ahram Online, Sunday 13 Feb 2011

MP Moemena Kamel and journalist Hisham El-Miany of El-Shorouk daily newspaper will face one month in jail, with a LE10,000 fine, for publishing statements by a NDP MP attacking a judge who exposed voting irregularities

Both El-Shorouk's editor Amr Khafaga and Hisham El-Miany appeared before the court of cassation on 18 December. They were cross-examined by prosecutors for ten hours on Saturday before being bailed out for LE20,000 ($3,500). The accused are facing allegations of libel, having published content deemed insulting to the judicial body.

The paper landed itself into trouble after it published an article on 4 December quoting National Democratic Party MP Mo'mena Kamel attacking Waleed El-Shafie, a judge supervising elections in the 6th of October constituency where she was running.

Following the 28 November elections, El-Shafie went public with statements saying that the polls were rigged in favour of Kamel and another NDP candidate, Nermeen Badrawy. He filed a complaint with the Higher Electoral Committee, which was appointed by President Hosni Mubarak to oversee the elections.

El-Shafie and two other judges refused to monitor the second round of elections last Sunday citing police assaults.

Events escalated when Kamel was quoted, by El-Shorouk, severely criticising El-Shafie, who responded by filing a complaint with the general prosecutor accusing the paper and Kamel of libel.

Today's El-Shorouk devoted a significant portion of its front page to an apologetic column titled 'All respect and appreciation to judge El-Shafie' in an attempt, it appears, to persuade him to withdraw his complaint. The paper said a "misunderstanding" took place, as its editors never meant to offend El-Shafie or the judicial body in their coverage.

When contacted by Ahram Online, Khafaga said he would rather not comment on the case.


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