Middle East and North Africa cases 2004: Country List    I   Middle East and North Africa Regional Home Page
How CPJ investigates and classifies attacks on the press

JUNE 16, 2004
Posted: June 22, 2004

Ahmed Ezzedine, Al-Osbou


Ezzedine, a journalist with the independent weekly Al-Osbou newspaper, was sentenced by the Criminal Court in Cairo to two years in prison for libeling Egypt's deputy prime minister and agriculture minister, Youssef Wali. The charge was based on an article he wrote in June 2003 that accused Wali of falsely testifying at the trial of Maher al-Guindy, the former governor of Giza who was found guilty of taking bribes in 2002.

Ezzedine told CPJ that Wali filed suit against him immediately after the article was published.

According to local journalists, the only remaining legal avenue available for Ezzedine is to appeal to Egypt's highest court, the Court of Cassation. Journalists also said that Ezzedine is not behind bars yet because he did not attend the court session when the sentence was pronounced. But the journalist could be arrested at any moment.

According to press reports, the court also fined Ezzedine 20,000 pounds (US$3,200).

NOVEMBER 2, 2004
Posted: November 5, 2004

Abdel Halim Kandil, Al-Arabi

Kandil, an editor and columnist at the opposition weekly Al-Arabi, was attacked just before dawn on November 2, after colleagues dropped him off near his home in Cairo, according to local sources and press reports. Before entering his apartment building, Kandil was confronted by four men who beat, blindfolded and forced him into a car, sources told CPJ.

The attackers, armed with knives, confiscated his mobile telephone and his glasses before dumping him in the middle of a desert road, stripped to his underwear, with a warning to stop writing about "important people," the sources said. The Associated Press reported that the attackers threatened to kill Kandil.

Local journalists described Kandil as a bold critic of President Hosni Mubarak's regime, in print and in appearances on Arab satellite channels. Al-Arabi has published several critical columns about the political future of Mubarak's son, Gamal, who many believe is being groomed as the next president. Kandil's last column, published a few days before the attack, criticized the Ministry of Interior's handling of the October 7 terrorist attacks in the Sinai, which claimed the lives of 34 people, mostly Israeli tourists.