Journalist covering MB protest sentenced to one year in prison

CAIRO: Samah Ibrahim a journalist at the Muslim Brotherhood affiliated Freedom and Justice newspaper was sentenced Monday to one year in prison, along with nine other MB supporters, Ashraf Abbas, a human rights researcher and a coordinator at the Journalists against Torture Monitor, told The Cairo Post.

El-Sahel Court sentenced Ibrahim and the others to one year in prison for “disturbing public peace, attacking public institutions, belonging to a banned terrorist group, blocking the road and trying to obstruct the constitution,” according to Abbas.

Abbas said the story began when Ibrahim was covering an anti-constitution Brotherhood march at Khalafawy Square in Shubra on Jan. 14, 2014.

He said Ibrahim was arrested, along with nine others, while doing her job covering the protest. Shubra’s Attorney General detained her in custody pending investigations for 15 days, which were continuously renewed, until she and the rest of the defendants were referred to trial at El-Sahel Court.

The sentencing of the journalist violates Articles 71, 72 and the 73 of the constitution, which guarantee freedom of speech, journalism and media, Abbas claimed, adding that the articles forbid the closure of newspapers and TV channels, except during times of war for security reasons.

The constitution also disallows imprisoning journalists for doing their job, Abbas said.

Relatives of Ibrahim claim that she had a nervous breakdown and authorities refused to transfer her to a hospital to receive treatment; they also claim that she suffered from epileptic seizures which prompted prison authorities to shock her with electricity, said Abbas.

The Attorney General referred Ibrahim to trial without “solid evidence for the accusations against her,” Khaled Eid,  Ibrahim’s lawyer,  told Veto Gate news website Monday, adding that while she was accused of assaulting the head of El-Sahel’s Police department; there are no medical reports proving any injuries or any assaults.

The Freedom and Justice newspaper issued a Monday statement condemning the imprisonment of Ibrahim by the “military coup’s security forces.”

The statement expressed the paper’s disappointment with the Journalists Syndicate’s attitude towards the case and towards the arrest of Mohamed Amer, one of their reporters, in Asyut.

Abbas said the Journalists against Torture Monitor is trying to pressure authorities to release Ibrahim by coordinating with NGO’s interested in freedom of speech.

He added that 22 journalists have been arrested since June 30 while doing their jobs

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