- Middle East/North Africa
Walid Ismail, a journalist at the independent newspaper Al-Tahrir, has been reportedly sentenced to one year in prison for assaulting a police officer.
The Cairo Criminal Court found Ismail guilty of attacking an officer inside the police academy after a court session in the trial of former President Hosni Mubarak and former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly.
During that court session, court room security officers reportedly assaulted a number of journalists, including Ismail, who filed charges against the officers at the New Cairo police station. One of the officers responded by filing counter charges against Ismail, claiming the reporter had injured him in the neck.
Ismail told Al-Masry Al-Youm that he found out about his guilty verdict when he received a phone call from someone who claimed to be a police officer, who told him, “I’m calling you and telling you this for your own good. The verdict has been issued and they are coming to arrest you.”
He added that the prosecutor referred the case to the court without contacting the Journalists Syndicate, or the newspaper where he works. According to the law, the court session should have been attended by the syndicate's attorney and one of its council members.
A number of journalists sent out a call on Facebook to stage a protest on Tuesday at 4 pm in front of the Journalists Syndicate to demonstrate against this "violation of the freedom of opinion and the press."
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm