Prominent Egyptian editor pardoned

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has pardoned newspaper editor, Ibrahim Eissa, who was charged with publishing information considered by the authorities to be “damaging to the public interest and Egypt’s national stability.” Ibrahim Eissa’s initial six-month prison sentence was reduced to two months by an appeal court on 28 September 2008. He remained at liberty, on bail pending the outcome of the Court of Cassation. His pardon was issued on 6 October to mark Armed Forces Day in Egypt. As Editor-in-chief of the daily Al-Dustour, Ibrahim Eissa published articles suggesting that President Mubarak’s health had deteriorated. The authorities claimed that the articles were untrue and led foreign investors to withdraw investments worth some 350 million US dollars, damaging the country’s economy. Amnesty International welcomes the decision to pardon Ibrahim Eissa and reiterates its call on the Egyptian authorities to amend the controversial press law and all other provisions in the Penal Code that criminalize legitimate reporting and to cease using criminal defamation charges to harass journalists and prevent their reporting on matters of legitimate public interest.