Rights group says Egypt is witnessing a 'sharp decline in freedom of opinion and expression'

Ahram Online, Sunday 25 Sep 2011

The Arab Network for Human Rights Information warns 'freedom of opinion and expression in Egypt is experiencing a serious turning point' citing three examples in the past days

The Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) has condemned what it described as “the return of the repressive practices of the former Egyptian regime following the revolution.” ANHRI stated three incidents, which it described as a violation of freedoms and rights, including the detention of writer Amr El-Shobaky at Cairo’s airport, the deportation of a French researcher at Cairo’s airport and the confiscation of an issue of Sawt El-Umma newspaper.

Writer Amr El-Shobaky was briefly detained on Saturday at the Cairo Airport upon his arrival from Beirut. According to ANHRI, his passport was seized for investigation and he was shortly after released.

On the same day Marie Edmee Josette Duboc was refused entry at the Cairo Airport and was deported back to Paris together with her daughter. Duboc is a new hire at the American University in Cairo’s sociology unit and was working as a researcher in Egypt in 2009 studying Egypt’s labour movement.

Meanwhile, authorities seized Sawt El-Umma’s issue of 25 September 2011, the newspaper headed by Hamdi Qandeel. Qandeel says he received a phone call from Al-Ahram printing house responsible for printing the newspaper, informing him that the issue had been confiscated upon the request of an undisclosed sovereign body.

“Freedom of opinion and expression in Egypt is experiencing a serious turning point, especially with the Military Council's insistence to enforce the emergency law and even expanding its competencies” said ANHRI.

“Following a popular uprising that raised the slogan of freedom, it is contradictory that repression, confiscation and denying journalists and activists entry into Egypt without providing any reasons persist among the remnants of the practices of Mubarak’s regime,” added ANHRI.

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