For Immediate Release: May 31, 2013
Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First today urged the Egyptian court to drop all charges against video blogger Ahmed Anwar, who is due to appear at a legal hearing tomorrow in Tanta. Anwar is being prosecuted for making and posting a video on You Tube mocking Egyptian policemen, and features some of them dancing in uniform.
“This prosecution is just one in a series of cases designed to intimidate bloggers from criticizing the government. The good news is this intimidation seems not to be working,” said Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley. “Despite widespread judicial harassment, threats and even physical attacks, journalists and bloggers continue to defy assaults on media freedom. The charges against Anwar should be dropped and the case scrapped.”
Anwar posted the film in March 2012 and was charged one year later on three counts, including insulting the Ministry of the Interior. He could be jailed for up to three years, but refuses to remove the video from the internet.
“I have a right to express myself this way – we had a revolution, many people were killed, injured or put in prison for that right and I’m not giving it up easily,” Anwar told Human Rights First. “That’s why I won’t take it down from You Tube.”
Human Rights First released a report this month covering attacks on the media in Egypt which outlined the intimidation and attacks on journalists and bloggers.
For more information or to speak with Dooley, contact Corinne Duffy at DuffyC@humanrightsfirst.org or 202-370-3319.