Former Egyptian presidential candidate put on terror list

Former Egyptian presidential candidate and reformist member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, speaks during an interview at his office in Cairo. (File photo/AFP)
Updated 21 February 2018
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Former Egyptian presidential candidate put on terror list

CAIRO: An Egyptian court put former presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh on a terrorism list on Tuesday after his arrest for alleged contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Aboul Fotouh, a former hard-liner who leads the Strong Egypt party, was arrested last week a day after returning from London, where he had given interviews sharply critical of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi ahead of next month’s presidential election.
The Interior Ministry said at the time that Aboul Fotouh held secret meetings with leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood while in London to implement a plot to stir unrest and instability in the country, accusations he denied.
Aboul Fotouh was among the first of several high-profile Egyptians to call last month for a boycott of the election.
Individuals added to the terrorism list are generally subjected to an asset freeze and a travel ban and are permitted 60 days to appeal the decision.
Aboul Fotouh’s lawyer, Abdelrahman Haridy, told Reuters he had not yet been notified of the court’s decision but that the designation could “easily” be appealed in court.
Aboul Fotouh along with 15 others were added to the list after an investigation by the state security prosecution found they had joined an outlawed organization “aiming to harm the interests of the state,” state news agency MENA reported.
In an interview with Al Jazeera Mubasher, a Qatar-based channel banned in Egypt, Aboul Fotouh last week criticized El-Sisi in unusually pointed terms.
The 67-year-old physician quit the Muslim Brotherhood in 2011 after disagreements over the role of religion in politics and founded the more centrist Strong Egypt party.
He mounted an independent bid for the presidency in 2012 and took nearly 18 percent of the vote in the first round of elections.
Egypt banned the Brotherhood in 2013 after President Mohamed Mursi was ousted by the military following mass protests. The group has since been declared a terrorist organization by the government.


Palestinian journalist wins appeal over Gaza graft report

Updated 25 March 2019
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Palestinian journalist wins appeal over Gaza graft report

  • The appeals court in Gaza “acquitted journalist Hajar Harb of all charges and closed her file”

GAZA CITY: A Palestinian journalist was acquitted on appeal over an investigative report about corruption in the Gaza Strip Monday, according to Amnesty International and a campaign group.

In a 2016 report for Al-Araby TV, Hajar Harb alleged that doctors were writing false medical reports to let people leave Gaza for treatment, one of the few reasons Israel allows Palestinians out of the blockaded strip run by Hamas.

In October that year, two doctors launched legal proceedings accusing her of defamation and “publishing false information,” according to Amnesty International.

The 34-year-old had been sentenced to six months in prison and fined, but the appeals court overruled the decision, said Fathi Sabah, head of a group supporting Harb.

The appeals court in Gaza “acquitted journalist Hajjar Harb of all charges and closed her file,” he said.

“This represents not just a victory for Hajjar but for freedom of the press,” he added.

Amnesty said Harb had been questioned by police at least four times following her report, but welcomed the decision of the court.

“It is really good news that Hajjar Harb was acquitted today, she was standing a trial that should not have taken place to begin with,” said Saleh Higazi, Amnesty’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“We hope that the Gaza authorities take this opportunity to signal that they are serious about freedom of expression and the press.”

In 2018, the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms recorded 77 violations of press freedom in the Palestinian Authority-run West Bank and 37 such cases in Gaza.

Hamas have controlled Gaza for more than a decade and have recently cracked down violently on street protests.