Amnesty and HRW defend Asmaa Mahfouz's freedom of expression from Egypt's ruling military

Ahram Online, Wednesday 17 Aug 2011

Amnesty International ask for charges to be dropped against activist Asmaa Mahfouz, who Tweeted her discontent with Egypt's ruling military

6 of April activist Asmaa Mahfouz (Photo: Reuters)
6 of April activist Asmaa Mahfouz (Photo: Reuters)

Amnesty International issued a statement calling on the ruling military council in Egypt to drop all charges against April 6 Movement activist, Asmaa Mahfouz.

Three days ago, the military council charged Asmaa with insulting public figures and inciting violence in messages she sent out through her Twitter account. The council interrogated Mahfouz for a few hours before releasing her on an LE 20,000 bail.

Asmaa Mahfouz had expressed her frustrations with the pace at which the Egyptian court system was dealing with corruption cases against members of the regime of ousted dictator Mubarak and she warned that others might resort to violent means to bring about justice.

Amnesty warned in a statement that the military council’s move against Mahfouz represents a dangerous precedent that jeopardises freedom of expression in Egypt.

Meanwhile, Mona Moraif, a researcher at Human Rights Watch, said that it was unnecessary for the military council to investigate Mahfouz since the civilian court system in Egypt has enough laws to deal with such matters.

In recent days, the ruling military council has interrogated various political activists who have been critical of its performance.

Since the start of the January 25 Revolution, the council has tried 12,000 people in military courts.

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