CAIRO: The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) has welcomed the commutation of a sentence issued against a journalist, but is calling for an investigation into his alleged physical assault at the hands of police officers.
El-Fagr journalist Kamal Mourad was originally sentenced on Dec. 30, 2008, to six months imprisonment and a fine of LE 100 after he was found guilty of assaulting a police officer and inciting farmers against security forces.
This penalty has now been substituted with a LE 200 fine.
On June 17, 2008, Murad photographed police officers beating farmers in the Beheira governorate. Murad says that he himself was physically assaulted by the police and threatened that he would be imprisoned. He was then detained for three hours.
ANHRI says that Murad lodged a complaint about his treatment with the public prosecutor as soon as he was released, but to date no action has been taken. ANHRI is calling for an immediate investigation into the year-old complaint.
ANHRI describe Murad’s conviction – handed down despite the fact that, ANHRI says, the journalist himself was the victim of a crime – as “a new blow to press freedom, and confirmation of security bodies’ control of all aspects of life in Egypt – portending a gloomy future for freedom of the press.