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Who Is Going To Defend Us?
To Silence Its Voice
Hisham Mubarak Law Center Is Under Attack
Defending the victims of human rights violations is one of the most significant and highest priorities in HMLC mission statement and strategic vision. Its lawyers have always stood before the Egyptian courts as advocates against all kinds of HR abuses.
Today the center is standing in the accusation dock which is part of the risks the center bears on its shoulder.
Today the center is defending itself and its existence to go on in performing its modest role-that is, defending the disarmed people against the repressing state machinery which enacts and applies legislations and laws as manipulating tools in the hands of the despotic upper echelon.
Who stands behind the curtain to silence us?
It's an Egyptian citizen named Abdel-Fatah Murad, a president of the appeal court in Alex and author of many legal books. He filed a lawsuit to be considered on Tuesday March 27, 2007 before the Administrative Justice Court in Cairo .
Murad has written a book entitled "Scientific and Legal Principles of Blogs on the Internet." It was discovered later by the Arab Network for HR Information that the author has quoted tens of pages of a book, published earlier by the Network, entitled "Stubborn Adversary: The Internet & Arab Governments," without any reference to it. As a consequence, the Network released a statement (http://sebona.net/node/4) undersigned by HMLC and other NGOs as a gesture of solidarity with the Network (http://sebona.net/node/5 ). Anyway, the undersigned NGOs were listed in the lawsuit to silence their voices and to undo their electronic sites (http://sebona.net/node/6 ).
So Where Is The Problem?
Murad has used his right to litigate against what he considers as terrorist E-sites that "pose a threat to national security, stability and supreme interests of Egypt and Arab countries." He also described them as sites used to defame, threaten and blackmail him and his judicial capacity. Because of what he perceives as terrorist sites, he filed a lawsuit before the court so that it may hand down a verdict that makes the government obscure those electronic sites. Anyway, HMLC doesn't see any problem in what he did. It's a legal matter to be decided by the court. And it's the right of any citizen to use his right and sue anybody even if he or she misuses this right. So, there is no problem from this perspective. But the problem in our opinion rises from other two perspectives (political and moral perspectives).
On the political side, the regime may seize the opportunity and start applying the terrorism-related article which incorporated in the notorious constitutional amendments. So, it's a chronic problem that Murad has nothing to do with, but rather it has everything to do with the response and solidarity of all democrats, particularly the judges, in this nation, regardless of their political orientations or party affiliations.
On the moral side, the ethics of scientific research requires that any words quoted have to be referred to the source book with mentioning the name of the author. In his books, Murad himself has mentioned that any author who quotes words of his books has to put them between brackets and not to exceed two lines with referring to his name. He considers violating it a crime not only against morality but also against religion. Ironically, he disregarded the ethics he mentioned himself and quoted tens of pages without referring to the source book he quoted from.
So, what he wants by suing us is a court decision that obliges the government to obscure the electronic sites amounted to 21 sites including 9 related to NGOs, Kefaia, press sites and blogs.
The suit will be considered on Tuesday March 27, 2007 before the State Council in Giza at 9 a.m.
How to affirm us:
For those who want to support us, you can join us to the court room. And to show a gesture of solidarity, you can bring your ID or your lawyer to intervene legally and make offensive intervention according to the law.
This statement was written at the dawn of Monday, the day of holding the notorious constitutional referendum, while we were following up the demonstrators arrested the day before.
Hisham Mubarak Law Center
Ahmed Seif el-Aslam Hamad