Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Al-Jazeera journalist arrested on dubious charges released

An Egyptian journalist arrested in Cairo Monday on charges of filming a documentary without a proper license was released after 15 hours in custody, Media with Conscience (MWC) reported Tuesday.

Howaida Taha, a journalist for Al-Jazeera, had already appealed one jail sentence prior to her arrest on Monday. Taha was filming in a low- income area of Cairo when police detained her for questioning. Taha’s lawyer, Ahmed Helmi told The Associated Press that: “She is under a constant police watch, they want to ban her from working in Egypt.” He added that Taha had all the needed permissions issued from the Egyptian press center.

Taha has made a documentary about police torture in Egypt and, according to the article, “is known for her criticism of the Egyptian regime.” Human rights groups confirm the tales of Taha’s documentary. As the article notes, they say that “torture, including sexual abuse, is routinely conducted in Egyptian police stations.” The article adds: “the government denies systematic torture but has investigated several officers on allegations of abuse. Some were convicted and sentenced to prison.”

In May, Taha was sentenced to six months in jail for “harming the country’s interests” by “fabricating” the torture scenes in her documentary.

For the AP article, click here.
For the MWC article, click here.


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