Islam Afifi, the editor of el-Dostor
Cairo – Akram Ali
The Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi issued a decree Thursday titled "Law No. 1 for the year 2012" to cancel the "temporary detention" for journalists in all the crimes committed by newspapers
by amending Article 41 of the Press Law Number 96 of 1996, as Cairo criminal court decided to postpone the editor's trial. Islam Afifi, the editor of el-Dostor is to be tried on September 16.
The presidential resolution states: "The cancelling of temporary detention is for all newspapers crimes only, deleting the exception that was provided in the same article which allowed the temporary imprisonment of journalists if they were accused of insulting the president as stated in Article 179 of the Penal Code."
The decree was issued after a long meeting held with Vice President Mahmoud Mekki and Justice Minister Ahmed Mekki and the president legal adviser Mohamed Fouad Gadalla, following the judicial decision to imprison Islam Afifi, editor of el-Dostor newspaper charged with insulting the president accusation.
The State Security Prosecution charged Afifi with publishing data and false news and rumors in el-Dostor newspaper insulting the president, disturbing public security, harming the public interest, destabilizing the country and spreading panic among the people.
Thursday's court session started with a recitation of the indictment as the court faced Afifi who denied all accusations saying: "It's my right to express my opinion as a journalist, as the law and constitution allows me to express my opinion freely."
A large number of supporting lawyers attended the court session with the editor including attorney of the Egyptian Press Syndicate Sayed Abu Zeid, who confirmed in front of the court that the union wasn’t notified of the details of the case from the prosecution and the prosecution did not address the union head.
The defense team asked for enough time to prepare case papers, call proving witnesses and call an expert of the Arabic language Academy to indicate whether statements contained on the pages of the newspaper includes insults and abuse against the Egyptian president or not.
In a swift reaction "Tora" prison administration deported Afifi from investigation prison to Giza prosecute.
According to the Middle East News Agency, Dr Abdul Almjid Mahmoud Attorney General ordered the immediate release of Islam Afifi and removes his name from the travel ban lists.
Assistant Attorney General and spokesman for prosecutors Adel Saeed said in a statement Thursday: "The public prosecutor's decision came in light of the law issued by President Mohamed Morsi this evening, containing the cancelling of temporary detention in the crimes made by the newspapers".
Saeed explained: "In the light of this decision, the imprisoning of Islam Afifi will be on no legal bases, so Attorney General released him on pending case and removed his name from the travel ban lists."