Cairo, 15 January 2012
ANHRI received today a complaint from the Arrow of Trust for Social Development, an NGO which the investigating judges mentioned in their press conference last week in the so-called case of foreign funding. The investigating judges alleged that this NGO established a website, assigned its members to photograph and detect the locations of churches, and to photograph the locations in which the armed forces are deployed in the cities of Ismailia and Suez. This part of of the presser included many legal errors and is a contribution to the defamation of one of the Egyptian institutions, as follows:
First: The investigating judges are supposed to be accurate, however, they cited the name of the organization incorrectly and mentioned an almost propaganda name, which is “the Arrow of Trust 7 April”. The real name of the institution is “the Arrow of Trust for Social Development”.
Second: This particular institution was not mentioned in the investigations and was not one of the association or institutions provided in the indictment file submitted to the court. Thus, the whole talk of the investigating judges becomes loose and lacks legal evidence.
Third: Lacking any evidence, the investigating judges alleged that this institution assigned its members to take pictures of the locations of the churches and where the armed forces are deployed. Such accusations may hold suspicions of defamation for the institution’s reputation and credibility, especially that these allegations lack any legal evidence.
Fourth: The investigating judges are supposed to know that it is illegal to bring up information about a case or indictment of an entity or person to the public opinion before the finalization of the investigations, and even before informing the concerned entity. Although the documents do not refer to the Arrow of Trust for Social Development at all, what has been said in the presser may defame this institution. It is not suited for the investigating judges to fall into this legal error.
ANHRI has obtained a copy of the statute of the Arrow of Trust for Social Development that indicate facts quite different from the allegations posed by the investigating judges without legal basis, such as:
1 – This institution is called “The Arrow of Trust for Social Development” and not “The Arrow of Trust 7 April”.
2 – It is registered and announced since 2007 under the number 464 in the city of Ismailia.
3 – Since its establishment five years ago, this institution has not received any funds by 64 thousand pounds to make training courses for youth to use the computer and technology. The training courses were approved by the Social Affairs.
4 – This institution is not at all related to politics or parties, and has not photographed or given photography courses to any entity.
5 – This institution has no website on the Internet. The youth who had training in it have created a Facebook group for it, in which they posted their personal pictures. It does not include any of the pictures that the investigating judges claimed. It is even a semi-deserted group with only 105 participants. (The link of the group is below)
6 – This institution, as evident from its name and activities, provides local development services, and cultural and scientific and economic development services. No illegal activity for this institution has been detected, as the investigating judges tried to suggest. In addition, the institution has not been challenged with any formal indictment, putting the investigating judges under legal liability for defamation.
Offended by the defamation contributed by the investigating judges against a development institution, even in good faith, ANHRI calls on them to have the courage to apologize to this institution to emphasize the rule of law and protection of reputation, so that people do not imagine that some judges play the same role of the State Security Investigations under the regime of the ousted dictator. The role of the judiciary is to entrench and bring justice to the oppressed, not defame or libel any person or entity, whether intentionally or unintentionally.
ANHRI reiterates its affirmation on that the crisis of the civil society and what is being said about the nature of its role will not be solved by defamation and the policing approach. It can only be solved by a new legislation for NGOs rather than the current policing law which was set by the parliament of the dissolved National Democratic Party of the ousted dictator. The new law should allow the civil society to work in a climate of trust and should allow transpacific through judicial monitoring, not control of the State Security or the administrative body. This is not possible without the political will of those in power in Egypt and through the state of law that the Egyptian people still aspire to.
Link of the Facebook group of the team of the Arrow of Trust
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