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Speech | Condemnation of 5-Year Sentence on Writer Karam Saber over Story Book

46 Arabic Human Rights Organizations Demand Dropping All Charges against Karam Saber, and the Unfair Five-Year Sentence On Account of His Story Book “Where is Allah”

The undersigned human rights organizations said, “On Tuesday, 10 September, the writer and human rights activist Karam Saber will appear before the Beba Misdemeanor Court in Beni Suef governorate for the consideration of the first hearing of the challenge on the unfair sentence issued against him in May 2013, as he was given five-year imprisonment in absentia. This case was moved by the Public Prosecution against the writer over the contempt of religion chargers, on the background of the complaints of th Hesba cases; demanding trying the writer for publishing the story book “Where is Allah”.

The case’s proceedings go back to 12 April 2011, whereas a number of citizens in Beni Suef governorate filed a complaint No. 600/2011 before the attorney general in Beni Suef; accusing Karam Saber of issuing the story book, consists of 11 stories, titled “Where is Allah” contains statements insulting of religious beliefs. As a result, the public prosecution conducted an investigation over the complaint without considering how serious is it. In addition, it showed the story book to a member of the Copt Orthodox Church in Beni Suef, who stated that the book is against the “Names of God in Islam”. It also showed the book to an administrative official at the Research, Authoring and Translation Department- an affiliate of Al-Azhar, who decried some words in the book and took them out of the text to be considered an insult and mockery, even though he is not specialized in issuing Fatwa. Thereafter, the Prosecution referred the case to the Misdemeanor Court, which carried, during7 May 2012 hearing, the writer the maximum penalty of five years in prison in absentia.

The undersigned organizations make reservation for the Public Prosecution’s obscure act, which is getting two reports from two persons associate to the Church and Al-Azhar at the aim of convicting the writer; despite that these religious institutions have no right to voice opinion at any creative or literary work. As the religious authority is not in charge of judging any literary work, which is the responsibility of the critics and readers, who have the right to read or ignore it. Furthermore, the undersigned human rights organizations made reservations for many legal encroachments transpired during the investigations and the trial as well.

The complainants had concealed information that could have been change the spatial jurisdiction of the court. They accused the writer of distributing the story book himself; ignoring the role of the well-known publishing house in Cairo, Al-Ahram Institution for Publication, in distributing the book. Moreover, they ignored the writer’s place of residence in Cairo so as to make the case considered before a certain court, even it is spatially incompetent court.

The undersigned organizations are worried about the Public Prosecution, as it accepts communiques from persons seek to gag and restrict the freedom of expression; thus it opens the doors to the obscurantists to misuse the right of litigation. Consequently, they would be able to control the creativity and to trial the writers and the creative people on account of their work.

The undersigned organizations are warning of the state’s ongoing slackness in addressing the religious and political Hesba cases, which are risk to the freedom of expression and creativity. The undersigned human rights organizations demand dropping all the charges against the writer “Karam Saber”, they implore the 50-Members Committee and the Egyptian State to draft legislative amendments to face the Hesba cases and prevent the return of The Inquisition, which aims to confiscate the freedom of creativity and expression.

Signatories:

  1. The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI)
  2. Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE)
  3. The Egyptian Association for Community Participation Enhancement
  4. Appropriate Communication Techniques for Development (ACT)
  5. Journalists without Rights
  6. Egyptian Foundation For Advancement Of Childhood Conditions (EFACC)
  7. Egyptian Center for Economic & Social Rights (ECESR)
  8. Committees For The Defense of Democracy Freedoms And Human Rights in Syria
  9. Hisham Mubarak Law Center (HMLC)
  10. Kurdish Organization for Defending Human Rights and Public Freedoms in Syria (DAD)
  11. National Organization for Human Rights in Syria
  12. Kurdish Committee for Human Rights
  13. Arab Organization for Human Rights in Syria
  14. Human Rights Organization in Syria – MAF
  15. Defend for prisoners of conscience in Syria – Rwankh
  16. Syrian Center for Transitional Justice and Enabled Democracy
  17. Syrian Kurdish Centre for Documentation
  18. Algmehoria Center for Studies and Human Right (ACHRS)
  19. Syrian National Center for Democracy and Human Development
  20. National Rally for women’s and children’s rights/Syria
  21. National Coordination for the Defense of missing in Syria
  22. Syrian Jurists Association for transitional justice and the rule of law
  23. National Center for the Study of Tolerance and Anti-Violence in Syria
  24. Syrian Center for Human Rights
  25. Syrian Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture
  26. Syrian Center for Human Rights Education
  27. Syrian Center for Transitional Justice
  28. Ugarit Center for Training and Human Rights
  29. Arab Committee for Defending the freedom of opinion and expression
  30. Ebla Center for the Study of transitional justice and democracy in Syria
  31. Syrian Association for the freedom and fairness
  32. Syrian Center for Civil Society and Human Rights Studie
  33. Syrian Coalition Against the Death Penalty (SCODP)
  34. Syrian platform for NGOs (SPNGO)
  35. Jordanian Authority for the culture of democracy
  36. Human Rights First Society- Saudi Arabia
  37. Egyptian Women’s Issues Center
  38. Huntkelm for the freedom of opinion and expression
  39. Filistiniat
  40. Pearl Center for Human Rights
  41. The Gulf forum for Civil Society Institutions
  42. Center for Trade Union and Worker Services (CTUWS)
  43. Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights
  44. El-Nadeem Centre for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture
  45. New Woman Foundation
  46. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)