CAIRO: The Cairo Appeals Court postponed till Dec. 27 its verdict in the case of the four newspaper editors who were handed down one-year jail sentences and a LE 20,000 fine last year, citing that the court had not completed its deliberations. Last Saturday, the Cairo Appeals Court was expected to issue its appealing verdict on Adel Hammouda, of Al-Fajr, Ibrahim Eissa, editor of Al-Dostour, Wael El-Ebrashy, editor of Sout Al-Omah weekly, and Abdel Halim Qandil, ex-editor of Al-Karama newspaper who were charged by the Criminal Court of Agouza with intentionally insulting President Mubarak, head of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), as well as other NDP members.
Just days before the appeals hearing that, Eissa was awarded the 2008 Gebran Tueni Award for journalism by the World Association of Newspapers (WAN), a prize honoring editors and publishers in the Arab world for their distinguished work in journalism.
In November 2006, a lawyer from Al-Gamalia district affiliated with the NDP filed a lawsuit against the four editors for publishing articles that allegedly insult President Mubarak.
A few months later another lawyer, Ashraf Hossam Al-Din, also affiliated with the NDP, filed a second lawsuit accusing the editors of publishing false information about the party and some of its members.
On the same day as the hearing, the Cairo prosecution office released Mohamed Abdel Khalek Mosahel, a reporter with Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper after being interrogated. Islamist lawyer Montaseer El-Zayat, a candidate contesting the top seat at the Lawyers’ Syndicate had pressed charges against Mosahel for allegedly insulting him.
In a newspaper article, Mosahel had quoted elections rival Sameh Ashour, the current head of the Syndicate, as saying that “El-Zayat is well connected with people in power, has intimate relations with security officials and has direct contact with the ministry of interior to which he files daily reports. Neither El-Zayat nor Ashour could be reached for comment.