Media gag imposed on probes into antiquities smuggling
Lower part of the shrine -Photo courtesy of Antiquities-Ministry

CAIRO:  Attorney General Hisham Barakat imposed Monday a media gag on investigations into a case of smuggling antiquities of which police judges and police officers are accused; another ban on probes against police personnel as also put in place.

The decision came a day after the director of the Nasr City prosecution in northern Cairo Judge Mohamed al-Sawy, his brother Judge Mahmoud al-Sawy, and seven other police officers were arrested, Youm7 reported.

The Administrative Control Authority monitored the accused and recorded video and audio evidence of involvement in trading antiquities, Masr al-Arabia reported. Judicial immunity has been lifted on the two judges, but no information about the antiquities was revealed or announced before the gag decision.

There are a number of precedents for media gags in cases in which police were accused; on Feb. 12, Barakat banned publication of investigations into the killing political activist Shaimaa Sabbagh who was fatally shot by a police officer during a peaceful protest in the fourth anniversary of January 25 Revolution. A police officer has been accused of the crime.

In February, media gag was also imposed on the investigations into killing lawyer Kareem Hamdy who was allegedly tortured to death inside a police station in Mataria, eastern Cairo.

Media gag decisions on investigations are lifted when the case is referred to a court or the gag is removed by the Attorney General, according to the Egyptian Law.

When police officer Ibrahim al-Desouky was kidnapped by militant groups in Sinai, the General prosecution imposed a media gag  in January. However, the gag was removed when his body was found.

Additional Reporting by Ahmed Ismail

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