Court overturns jail sentence against Al Jazeera producer


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Court overturns jail sentence against Al Jazeera producer

A Court of Appeal in Cairo has overturned a six-month jail sentence passed on Al Jazeera producer Huwaida Taha, over her documentary on torture in Egyptian prisons. The ruling reversed the May 2007 ruling but insisted she pays a fine of LE 20,000 (US$3,650) for “possessing material containing untrue information” because she had filmed a re-enactment of alleged police torture. Rights groups, which argue that torture is widespread and systematic in Egyptian police stations, had condemned the original trial, which they said violated internationally recognized fair trial norms. “I have been a part of many trials concerning these sort of things and Egypt does not seem to be doing a good job at adhering to international standards,” Ahmed Seif Al Islam, director of the Hisham Mubarak Law Centre that helped defend Taha, had said earlier. Seif Al Islam said at the time that he hoped that once all the arguments were heard the court ruling would be reversed. Reacting to the reversal, the Seif Al Islam’s centre and the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (HRinfo) said in a joint statement: “Despite of cancelling the prison sentence against Howaida Taha, the three human rights organizations, signing this statement, consider that this judgment is again a strong restricting of freedom of expression and the right to unmask the widespread violations including, of course, torture.”

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