Press Release

July 3, 1996

CHRLA condemns the assault of al-Sha'ab editor-in-chief

CHRLA strongly condemns the assault of Mr Magdi Ahmad Husayn, editor-in-chief of al-Sha'ab newspaper of the opposition Labor Party. Mr Husayn was driving to his office, in the afternoon of 1 July, when a group of men in a car forced him to stop, pulled him out of his car, and viciously assaulted him.

Al-Sha'ab has been a harsh critic of the Minister of the Interior Hasan al-Alfi, and Mr Husayn was recently tried under the infamous press, Law 93/95, for libeling the minister's son. As a result, the editor was given a suspended one-year prison sentence and fined LE15,000 (almost $4,000).

This attack is the second of its kind. Last year, editor-in-chief of al-Wafd newspaper, Gamal al-Badawi, was also attacked in similar circumstances to those of his al-Sha'b counterpart. At the time, Al-Wafd was a leading critic in the campaign against Law 93/95.

CHRLA believes that such incidents are, in fact, an attack on freedom of the press and journalists. Furthermore, both assaults are a grave violation of human rights, particularly the right to security and freedom of the person. These events represent a setback for democracy and social progress in Egypt.

CHRLA calls on all members of civil society to unite in solidarity with Mr Husayn and to combine their efforts to confront all forms of terrorism, whoever the perpetrators may be.

Finally, CHRLA calls on the government to act quickly to find those who are guilty and bring them to justice as a demonstration of its respect for the rule of law and the rights of citizens.

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