The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) condemned the confiscation of a Sawt Al-Omma newspaper issue that contained reports on the health condition of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s mother as well as reports on a corrupt network of Mubarak-era figures.
The issue was seized from distribution centres and destroyed on Friday; a procedure the rights organisation considered “a serious hit to press freedom”.
The main headlines on the front page of the issue included the report on Al-Sisi’s mother, which informs in its headline that her health is deteriorating and that the president visited her in a military hospital.
The president’s mother passed away early on Monday, confirming the Sawt Al-Omma report.
Also on the front page was a headline for an article that discussed an alleged corruption case involving Minister of Justice Ahmed Al-Zind.
ANHRI said that confiscating and banning press publications contradicts with Article 71 of the constitution, which prohibits censoring, confiscating, stopping or shutting down the press.
The organisation called for penalising the decision makers for the “clear violation of the constitution”.
A similar incident occurred in March when an edition of El-Watan newspaper, which included an investigative report on the tax-evasion of high-ranking officials, was censored.
The issue included a three- page investigative report about tax evasions by 13 ministries and officials in recent years, in which the presidency was listed on top.
The privately-owned Egyptian newspaper’s report said further details were requested from senior officials at the Ministry of Finance. However, reporters received the reply: “That’s not your business and don’t try to ask again.”