URGENT:An APPEAL from an Egyptian Journalist to the Free World- PLEASE HELP
This is a dear friend of mine. she is asking me for help. But the only help I can provide her with is to make her message heard everywhere. In Egypt we are ruled by police state under emergency law. Please help and send the message around the world to make her and other Egyptian journalists seeking freedom heard everywhere.
Please take the time to read her email. I deleted her name for security reasons. She is a defender of the rights of journalists and press freedom in Egypt that the regime and government want to ban.
I am sorry because I am writting that very fast and in very poor English. We need your help urgently. Yesterday, was a day of confrontation with the regime. It is a matter of days until this parliamentary session is closed on freedom of journalits. The law related to the promise which President Mubarak has given in February 2004 to abolish prison sentences for jounralists ('publishing offences). The law is not issued yet.
Moreover, the newly issued law of political right practices contains in its article 48 the right to imprison journalists. We are fed up. Last Wednesday, we organized a big conference. All political groups came to this conference. Several proposals and idea were given.
Everybody believe that resolving the freedom of expression issue is related to the political reform our country needs. One of the proposals came from a group composed of members of the general Assembly of journalists, Journalists to achieve change (Journalists for Change is among some other movements of same name but for different professions and brackets). We have called for a silent rally from the syndicate to the Parliament.
Yesterday, we went to our Press syndicate. There we found hundreds of police officers and soldiers and armored vehicles. Once we were preparing to move from the syndicate's stairs they put us under siege from allsides. They made a cordon preventing us to go out and prevented our colleagues to get in. It was a terrible situation. We tried to go out from any part. Their number exceeded us. Some other vehicles transferred other soldiers. We tried to talk with the officers. We did several attempts to break the siege. Things turned to confrontation. They didn't hit us but they pushed us regardless what happens. Things developed and they have closed the whole street leading to the syndicate. Other cars came carrying hundreds of soldiers. We didn't understand why they do all of that trying to prevent a peaceful march calling for one of the basic rights of expression without prison, whether a journalist or not. Other political groups knew what we are facing.
They tried against the situation calling for our freedom and issuing the law.Three of our colleagues are members of the Parliament. They carried our message and left to join the parliamentary session. They said on behalf of us that we are calling to; issuing the law that the syndicate prepared and presented to them 5 years ago or the new law which the ministry of justice has transferred to the Prime minister (cabinet) after being discussed in a committee from the ministry and thesyndicate. They told them that we were prevented fro our march to present our demand ourselves. The Speaker of the Parliament said that the law that have been presented to the Parliament has been transferred to the Shora council( a council for senates).
Now we want to guarantee that the Parliament discuss and issue the law when it returns from Shora council. This should happen in 3 or 5 days maximum.We are sure that if the government is serious, it would prefer the law it is already prepared by the cabinet to the Parliament.
The Speaker of the Parliament said that the law that have been presented to the Parliament has been transferred to the Shura council (a council for senates). Now we want to guarantee that the Parliament discuss and issue the law when it returns from Shora council. This should happen in 3 or 5 days maximum.We are sure that if the government is serious. It would prefer the law it is already preparing from the prime ministry to the Parliament.
We need your help urgently. A statment from differernt organizations to the governement or the parliment would be suitable. If you know anyone who can help to issue it to the president who gave us the promise. It would be great. We need pressure to urge our Parliament to issue the law before this parliamentary period is finished, remind them of the President's promise 16 months ago, tell them that is our right according to Egypt's international commitments.I forgot to tell you that we have arranged a sit-in inside the syndicate. We have started it today once the march was banned. We left the syndicate at 11pm.
Today, we will do that again from 2 pm until 9pm. Saturday, the same. At Sunday, we will organize another march. We don't know whether they will ban us again or not. Accordingly, we are arranging with all political movements and other related syndicates as lawyers to wait for us in front of the Parliament. They were coming to support us. They were prevented. We started to chant against the situation calling for our freedom and issuing the law.
We know that they (state security) have now files for everyone of us. Possibly, I won't be here tomorrow to communicate with you.This is serious. We are all in danger. We have emergency laws in this country since 24 years. We have torture in prison. They want the media and press to be speakless and speechless, trying to hide all of that. Please help us to reveal it and still keep our Freedom.
"Freedom...Freedom...Freedom"... this was our chant today when we were struggling with the armed soldiers trying to get out of the syndicate tothe streets. We believe that we can do something to our country.