CAIRO: The Cabinet is considering a presidential decision to criminalize “insults” to both the January 25 Revolution and June 30 events, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi told a group of youths and media practitioners Tuesday.
Lawyer Mohamed Zarea told VetoGate the law is “coercion” to citizens to adopt one opinion, which he added is inconsistent with the freedom of opinion and expression guaranteed in the constitution.
Zarea told the site there should first be a clear improvement in the living situations of the citizens in order for them to be convinced that the revolution has succeeded and has positively changed their lives.
“Expressing opinions on a public event adversely is not a crime,” Deputy Head of National Movement Party Yehia Qadry told Al-Wafd Tuesday, adding that only violence should be prosecuted.
Vice Premier of the State Council Hassouna Tawfiq criticized the law saying that offending the law is too “general” of a term.
While some people find the law “inconsistent” with the rights achieved in the constitution, some others praised the law as “complementary” to the constitution which, according to them, mentioned the January 25 Revolution only in the preamble and did not protect it by punishments.
Legal jurist Essam el-Eslamboly told Al-Wafd the law is a “positive step” to punish whoever describe the January 25 Revolution as a conspiracy and June 30 incidents as a military coup.
Eslamboly claimed that media practitioners are protected from this law under Article 71 in the constitution, which stipulates “No freedom restricting penalty shall be imposed for publication;” it does, however, impose penalties for crimes inciting violence.
Many activists have aligned with Eslamboly; a joint statement issued Tuesday by a number of political and revolutionary youth coalitions and movements urged the president speed the issuance of the law in “respect to the souls of the innocent martyrs.”
The statement comes amid outrage erupted among youth who seemed frustrated after a court ruling dropped charges of killing protesters against former President Hosni Mubarak. His interior Minister and six aides in the same case were also acquitted leading to protests in Tahrir Square the night the verdict was issued, where two people were killed.
Sada el-Balad TV Presenter Ahmed Moussa, who was criticized for calling Mubarak “Mr. President” after his acquittal, commented on the law saying that it is only applicable when the revolution term is mentioned in an “insulting context.”
Moussa also demanded, during his show, that anyone who insulted the June 30 Uprising in the media or the press to be tried.
Some local newspapers, mostly online, have been calling the events of June 30 a military coup against the former president Mohamed Morsi who was ousted July 3, 2013. The Freedom and Justice Party website is on the top of these websites, as it is considered the mouthpiece of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was designated a terrorist organization Dec. 25, 2013.