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Cairo 26/10/2009

Egypt : Police Bias To TV Channel “AlKahira Wa AlNas” At The Expense Of Law
Violation Of The Freedom Of Expression Of The Internet Activist “Tamer Azab” And Connivance Of Violation Of Intellectual Property

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, ANHRI, strongly denounces the incident that the police officer “Walid Abd Al Salam” led a force breaking into the house of “Tamer Azab”, an internet activist, and arresting him as a favor for the powerful business man “Tarek Nour”. Nour filed a communiqué against Azab accusing him of insult and libel, an accusation, in case it is proved to be true, that could not lead to prison sentence in Egypt.

Azab was arrested on 25/10/2009 without a prosecution order ;a clear incident of manipulating and disrespect of law in favor of one of the most powerful business men and the owner of one of the biggest advertising agencies in Egypt.

Tamer Azab has participated in a group on FaceBook revealing that “AlKahira Wa AlNas” TV channel, owned by Tarek Nour, has violated the intellectual property of the famous English ad “The Benny Hill Show”. AlDostor daily independent Egyptian paper reported on the same violation mid August 2009.

Instead of investigating this explicit violation of the intellectual property law, the police officer took the business man’s side, arrested the internet activist, seized his computer and detained him illegally for 10 hours turning Tamer into a defendant instead of being a complainant!

A lawyer from the Legal Aid Unit for freedom of expression attended the investigation with Tamer Azab. The lawyer detailed the incident to the prosecution and revealed the blatant encroachment of the police on the law and that they overstepped their role. Knowing that, the prosecution changed the charge from “Insult and libel” to “Deliberately disturbing and harassing others”.

ANHRI said that “This is a shameful incident to the Egyptian police; instead of investigating the incident of infringement of intellectual property disclosed by the press and internet activist , the police terrorized the activist in favor of powerful business men. Whether this prejudiced measure was taken voluntarily by the police or upon request from Tarek Nour, the law has been totally wasted and manipulated by the very guards of law. This has become the law profile in Egypt recently”.

ANHRI added “We are following up closely on this case. We expect the prosecution to proceed to court so that the police officers violations would be exposed thereby taking them to court. We also expect an investigation to be opened in the violation incident reported by AlDostor paper and the internet activist accusing the TV channel “AlKahira Wa AlNas”, owned by Tarek Nour, of infringement of intellectual property”.

In a recent update, ANHRI was informed that Tamer Azab is still detained despite the release order issued by the prosecution on 25/10/2009; an explicit example of police abusing their authority, violating the law and disrespecting the prosecution general decisions.

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