Lawyers of Banned Egyptian Paper Sue Head of Shura Council

Published April 21st, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

The defense team of the banned Egyptian newspaper, Al Shaab, said Friday that they have filed a motion against head of the Shura Council Mustafa Hilmi for failing to respond to a court ruling ordering the reopening of the paper.  

The lawyers, who were speaking at a forum held in Cairo to discuss press freedom, explained that Hilmi, as the head of the committee on partisan affairs, defied court rulings in favor of the paper, the mouthpiece of the banned Islamist Labor party.  

The committee, dominated by the ruling National Party, decided last month that the court rulings should not be interpreted in favor of newspaper.  

A legal consultant for the Labor responded then by describing the committee’s ruling as “a matter of legal bullying.”  

Secretary general of Labor, who is also the editor-in-chief of Al Shaab and head of the press freedom committee at the Press Association, condemned the government’s declination to implement the courts’ order, saying that suppressing the opposition papers is a war against the freedom of the press.  

The paper was suspended when it published stories last year criticizing the government’s decision to allow the publishing of a novel considered anti-Islamic.  

According to the government then, the articles led to riots that saw  

a man killed and hundreds injured, in addition to arrests.  

Speaking at the forum, Naserite Party politburo member Farouq Ashri voiced his party’s support for the Labor’s demands, and called on the government to prove its legitimacy by implementing the law.  

The meeting was massively attended by Labor members and a leftist MP, Ahmad Taha.  

Hussein read a letter by the undersecretary of the Bar Association affirming that the country’s lawyers stand beside the opposition group in its “legal demands.”  

Security forces surrounded the Press Association offices, where the meeting took place, to preempt any possibility of rioting –  



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