Journalists, lawyers on trial for revealing election fraud

Three Egyptian journalists and a lawyer were charged by a criminal court for denouncing state-sponsored fraud in last year’s parliamentary elections, judicial sources told AFP.

Wael al-Ibrashi and Hoda Abu Bakr, both journalists with the independent Sawt al-Umma weekly, were charged with slandering a local electoral commission chief and publishing the names of judges allegedly involved in fraud.

Similar charges were brought against Abdel Hakim Abdel Hamid, the chief editor of Afaq Arabiya (Arab Horizons) — considered the mouthpiece of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood — as well as a lawyer close to the Islamist movement, Gamal Tag el-Din.

The publications had claimed they had obtained the list of judges accused of being involved in rigging electoral results from the lawyers’ syndicate, where the Muslim Brotherhood is well represented.

Opposition movements and election observers had cried foul following the November-December parliamentary polls that saw President Hosni Mubarak’s ruling National Democratic Party retain a firm grip on power.

I think that in a way, Sawt Al Umma has been the most daring of the quite daring weeklies. Sure it’s lowbrow, but they’ve had fantastic front pages with hilarious photo-montages. There was a great one a few weeks ago with Mubarak looking at the different phases of the eclipse — each phase had a word on it, like “corruption,” inheritance of power,” etc…

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