June 8, 2008 Cairo, Egypt
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information “www.anhri.net” and “Mosawah” Association for Human Rights announce that tomorrow, June 9th 2008, the Azzohour Court of Port Said will review a unique case filed by “Trust Chemicals” Company against Egyptian Internet blogger Tamer Mabrouk the owner of “The Truth Blog” http://elhakika.blogspot.com.
The company is accusing Tamer Mabrouk of defamation for his posting of information which reveal Trust Chemical’s dumping of chemicals into “Manzallah Lake” and the Suez Canal. Tamer also reported information on harsh working conditions in the company. These conditions are the reasons behind a recent worker sit-in, where workers demanded access to copies of their contracts and that the company stop firing workers arbitrarily.
A surprising detail of Trust Chemical’s case is that there is no direct writing by Tamer Mabrouk about the company, which is necessary for a valid defamation case. Tamer’s blog story consisted only of photographs of the chemical dumping and reports of workers’ rights violations in the company. The blogged photos were noticed by a government paper, “Almasaa”, which lead the paper to describe the company as “the death factory in Port Said”.
“This case aims to silence the voice of a blogger who writes about the crime of polluting a lake that connects many cities and governorates in Egypt,” said Rawda Ahmed, a lawyer at ANHRI. “The photos and the documents being published by the blogger are evidence of a very dangerous human rights violation and should lead to an investigation of the company that is threatening the health of millions of Egyptians and at the same time arbitrarily firing hundreds of contracted workers, ” Ahmed added.
Hany al-Gibaly the Secretary of “Mosawah” Association remarked, “This case is a new episode in the persecution of internet bloggers. Tamer has unveiled a critical pollution case in Port Said that is no less dangerous than Agrium’s, so we must support the role he is playing.”
Both the Arabic Network “ANHRI” and Mosawah Association are questioning who suspended the campaign began by some governmental and independent newspapers against polluting one of the most important Lakes in Egypt with chemical wastes? Tamer has uncovered the details of this crime through his blog, and now Trust Chemicals is trying to silence him and threatening to jail him in an attempt to bypass the crime of manipulating and endangering the health of millions of Egyptian citizens.”
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information
Mosawah Association for Human Rights