Court postpones trial of editor, reporter accused of ‘inciting public opinion’

An Egyptian court on Sunday postponed to 19 December the trial of Wael al-Ibrashi, chief editor of independent weekly Sawt al-Umma, and Sammar al-Dawy, a reporter for the same paper, who are accused of "inciting public opinion against compliance with the law," in line with Article 177 of the Egyptian penal code.

Finance Minister Youssef Boutros-Ghali pressed charges against al-Ibrashy after the latter published a series of articles by journalists, politicians and economists opposing a real estate draft law.

In one article, al-Ibrashy questioned the constitutionality of the proposed legislation, claiming that the bill–if implemented–would constitute a financial burden on Egypt's middle class.

In another article, al-Dawy quoted a legal expert as saying that the bill, which has been approved by parliament, would ultimately be rejected by Egypt's Constitutional Court.

In June, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an international media watchdog, called on Boutros-Ghali to drop the charges, pointing out that Article 177 had traditionally been applied to cases involving armed groups.

The al-Ibrashi/al-Dawy case, the CPJ noted, represented the first time for the article to be invoked in a case related to the press.

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