General prosecutor investigates 31 artists for culture ministry occupation

Ahram Online, Wednesday 12 Jun 2013

Egypt's general prosecutor takes up a complaint filed against artists, intellectuals and writers participating in a sit-in at the minister of culture's Cairo office

Artists resume their sit-in at Culture Ministry (Photo: Ayman Hafez)

A source in the General Prosecution has confirmed that the general prosecutor has started looking into a complaint filed by researcher Hamed Seddik against 31 artists, writers, intellectuals and political activists for occupying Egypt's Ministry of Culture and being negligent to general safety along with suspending work within the ministry.

Among those accused are writers Sakina Fouad, Bahaa Taher, Sayid Hegab, Sonallah Ibrahim, Fathia El-Assal, Saad El-Qersh, publisher Mohamed Hashem, aritsts Khaled Youssef, Nabil El-Halafawy, Galal El-Sharkawy, Mohamed El-Ads, Mahmoud Qabil, Soheir El-Morshedy, Hanan Motawe', Sameh El-Sarisi, Ahmed Maher, Nasser Abdel-Moneim, visual artists Ahmed Nour, Mohamed Abla, political activists Alaa Abdel-Moneim, Mostafa El-Gendy, George Ishaak, Michael Mounir, intellectuals Youssef El-Qaeed, Ines Abdel-Dayem, Ahmed Megahed, Ezz El-Din Nagib, Shaaban Youssef, Houwaida Saleh, Sameh Mahran and Salwa Bakr.

According to Seddik's statement accompanying the official complaint, those named are pretending to be "Egypt's elite" and are accused of libel, slander and offending the symbols and institutions of the state, threatening the security of the nation, and inconveniencing the public by occupying the minister's office, which is against the law governing protests, and the constitution.

Since his appointment four weeks ago, Culture Minister Alaa Abdel-Aziz has sacked key members of Egypt's cultural scene, creating a political battleground with artists and intellectuals. Among those sacked were Cairo Opera House head Enas Abdel-Dayem, General Egyptian Book Organisation head Ahmed Mujahid, Fine Arts Sector head Salah El-Meligy and National Library and Archives head Abdel-Nasser Hassan.

Last week, the head of the Supreme Council for Culture, Said Tawfik, resigned in protest at the dismissals.

Protesters have prevented Abdel-Aziz from entering his office at the ministry since Wednesday, 5 June, following a series of marches, protests and strikes at the Cairo Opera House.

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