Egypt's attack on the press continues

Egypt jails three journalists:

CAIRO (AFP) - A court on Monday sentenced the editor of an opposition newspaper and two other journalists to two years in jail for "damaging the image of justice", in the latest case against Egypt's media.

Al-Wafd's editor Anwar al-Hawari, Mahmud Ghallab and Amir Othman were jailed for "having published untrue information which damaged the reputation of the justice system and the justice ministry", the court ruled.

The three, who did not attend the hearing and remain free on bail pending an appeal, were also ordered to pay small fines, a judicial source said.

The judge accepted the case filed by several Egyptian lawyers after Al-Wafd had in January quoted Justice Minister Mamduh Mari as saying that 90 percent of Egyptian judges were not up to the job.

Mari said he had been misquoted and the lawyers then claimed the reports had indirectly damaged their image.

"We are not at war, we didn't reveal military secrets. We only did our job as professional journalists," Hawari told AFP after the sentencing, insisting on the accuracy of the quote.
It's worth noting that this is the same Mahmoud Marei whom, for the past year, has led a multi-pronged attack on the judiciary by cutting salaries, denying funds to independent judges, reassigning them, refusing to meet with Judges' Club leadership for months, etc.
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.