Egypt: Al-Jazeera Journalist Sentenced to Prison for Exposing Torture

Regulation & Policy

A criminal court in Cairo last week sentenced Huwaida Taha Mitwalli, a journalist for Al-Jazeera and the London-based daily Al-Quds al-Arabi, to six months in prison on charges of "possessing and giving false pictures about the internal situation in Egypt that could undermine the dignity of the country" in connection with an Al-Jazeera documentary she made about torture in Egypt. The court also fined her 20,000 Egyptian pounds (US$3,518). An Egyptian national, Taha is currently free on bail in Qatar, pending appeal.

Human Rights Watch said that the sentence, delivered the day before World Press Freedom Day, is emblematic of Egypt's worsening crackdown on freedom of expression:

On April 14, security officers arrested television journalist and blogger 'Abd al-Monim Mahmud at Cairo airport as he tried to board a plane for Sudan, where he was to work on a television story about human rights abuses in the Arab world for the London-based Al-Hiwar satellite channel.

Human Rights Watch (Washington, DC), 2nd May 2007