'Insulting' Egyptian editor freed

2012-08-24 22:02
Islam Afifi. (AFP)

Islam Afifi. (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cairo - The editor of an independent Egyptian daily was released from jail late on Thursday just hours after the country's Islamist president issued a law that bans the imprisonment of journalists accused of media-related offenses.

The case against Islam Afifi has sparked an outcry from journalists and intellectuals who view the lawsuit as an attack on free speech similar to the types of legal manoeuvring used by the former regime of authoritarian ruler Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in a last year's popular uprising, to silence its opponents.

Afifi, who is the editor-in-chief of the el-Dustour newspaper owned by the leader of the opposition Wafd Party, has been charged with slandering the president and harming public interest with inflammatory articles. He had already been banned from travelling abroad.

A Cairo court on Thursday ordered Afifi to remain in jail pending trial in September. Hours after the court's decision, President Mohammed Morsi issued a law that bans imprisoning journalists for media-related charges until court verdicts are handed down.


Afifi, who still faces trial, was photographed smiling and being greeted by newspaper staff after his release late on Thursday.

The decree affecting those awaiting trial for offences such as libel, defamation and slander is the first law Morsi has issued since assuming legislative powers earlier this month in the absence of a parliament, and following a decision to retire a cadre of generals with whom he had shared powers.

Morsi, who is a member of the Egypt's powerful Muslim Brotherhood, became the country's first freely elected civilian president in late June.

Since Morsi took office, el-Dustour has regularly published articles warning of alleged Brotherhood plots and conspiracies to turn Egypt into a fundamentalist Islamic state.


It also promoted an anti-Brotherhood demonstration on Friday, initially calling for the torching of Brotherhood offices but later amending its call and instead urging protesters to hold peaceful rallies in Cairo.

The protests on Friday against the Brotherhood were small, but seen as a significant test of how Morsi will respond to the opposition.

The case against Afifi is one of several lawsuits brought forward mainly by Islamists against journalists in Egypt, accusing them of inflammatory coverage and inciting the public against the Brotherhood.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists hailed the law issued by Morsi, but urged authorities to halt "an alarming rise in repression that has included newspaper confiscations, criminal prosecutions, and assaults against journalists".

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    mohammed morsi  |  egypt  |  north africa  |  media

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Byrne: Israel Folau a 'freak'
England World Cup coaches barred
LIVE: New Zealand v Tonga
Lancaster comes out guns blazing
Traffic Alerts

It is always easier to notice the faults in others rather than face our own. Focusing too much on the perfect and ideal scenario...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.