مُتاح أيضًا بـ: العربية (Arabic)
A group of Egyptian police stormed the headquarters of the website “Al-Manassa” and searched the computers of the journalists working on the site. They arrested the editor-in-chief (Noura Younis). When the Site’s lawyer in Al Maadi police station, where the incident took place, there was a total denial of her existence there initially. After several hours, they admitted it and informed them that Noura would be presented in the early morning to the Public Prosecution as she was charged of “managing a website without a license” and that Noura would spend the night in the custody of the department.
A police force, that introduced itself as “members of the General Authority for Censorship of Works of Art”, raided the site and examined computers, claiming to verify the intellectual property rights of the operating systems, before they seized two laptops operating on the open source Ubuntu operating system, and the police took Noura Younis with them.
Mr. Hassan Al-Azhari, “Lawyer of the site”, explained that Al-Manassa site submitted to the relevant authorities, the necessary license papers and payment of the prescribed fees of 50 thousand Egyptian pounds (about 3 thousand US dollars) in October 2018, and the application for licensing has not yet been decided.
Later on Thursday evening, June 26, 2019, Maadi Prosecutor’s Office decided to release journalist Noura Younis on a bail of 10,000 Egyptian pounds, pending investigations into case No. 9455 of 2020, after investigating her with the following charges:
- The creation of an account on an information network that aims to commit and facilitate the commission of a crime that is legally punishable.
- Possessing a program designed and developed without permission from the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.
- Using soft programmes without license
- Benefitting unjustly through the information system network or one of the means of information technology, telecommunications service and one of the audiovisual services
Those events bring to mind the storming of the headquarters of “Mada Masr” site several months ago in a similar incident, and it is worth mentioning that Al-Manassa is one of more than approximately 572 blocked websites in Egypt.
It should be noted that the censorship and blocking policy relies mainly on Law 180 of 2018 to regulate the press and media that was ratified by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in early September 2018. This law creates a series of difficulties in establishing websites through a set of licenses, conditions and controls that apply on the Egyptians and all the sites that want to work in Egypt. Anyone who wants to establish a site in person must take the form of a company of one individual or several individuals or institutions in accordance with Article (51) of the law. In addition, a number of penalties, the most important of which is to punish every website established inside Egypt or a local branch for a site outside it and every site that broadcasts or announces broadcasts, before obtaining a license from the Supreme Council, with a fine of not less than one million Egyptian pounds and not more than three million Egyptian pounds, as required by the court. In addition, site is to be closed, blocked, the equipment and devices are to be confiscated. In case of repeated violations, the minimum and maximum fines are doubled.
With all these impossible conditions imposed on all the website creation initiatives, the remote control and security policy that follow all activists is added, which is the case of Noura Younus. We cannot fail to recall that this suffering continues in parallel with the family of Alaa Abdel-Fattah, who remains in prison. His sister Sanaa, who was kidnapped in front of the Public Prosecutor’s Office by officers in civilian clothes, joined him the day before when she was violently assaulted with her sister and mother, Leila Suef, while they were asked to receive a letter of reassurance about Alaa’s condition in his prison. Sana was placed in a minibus. Then, two hours later, she appeared at the State Security Prosecution Office in the Fifth Settlement on June 23, 2020.
Alaa was imprisoned on the pretext of one of the absurd cases of the State Security Prosecution. The accusations lack evidence and are without content. His family announced that he is going on a hunger strike, after the authorities decided to close prisons and prevent visits due to the spread of the Corona pandemic in Egypt, as well as considering the renewal of his imprisonment order without his presence and his lawyer in clear violation of the law.
It is clear that the regime’s policy is systematic in the direction of controlling public life in Egypt, and eliminating every voice that opposes or criticizes its policies, especially as it targets the civil movement activists from all walks of life. Today, the Egyptian regime arbitrarily imposes on all citizens a broad policy of censorship, repression, harshness, imprisonment, and torture, taking advantage of all available tools. This made every talk about a possible democratic transition in Egypt void of meaning and without basis. Egypt has moved to a dictatorship that has never been seen in its history, where the regime retains what it pleases, while the opposing voices are replaced by prisons, or the censored internet space.
DAAM Centre notes that the continued restrictions on freedom of the press, freedom of opinion and expression, and the pursuit of journalists by the authorities in Egypt violate all international conventions and mostly the Egyptian constitution, a path that leads to more repression and negatively affects citizens’ confidence in the ruling regimes.
The Centre calls the Judicial Authority for returning its previous positions taken to stand in the line of public freedoms and protecting citizens after making accusations that are baseless to Al-Minassa Site and its employees. This is to end the state of total submission imposed by the regime on the Egyptian judiciary, which was previously at the forefront of defending the rule of law and the civil state.
مُتاح أيضًا بـ: العربية (Arabic)