Prosecution refers media host, Al-Dostour editor to criminal court

The public prosecutor referred media personality Tawfiq Okasha and Al-Dostour Editor-in-Chief Islam Afify to Cairo Criminal Court Wednesday.

The prosecution accused Okasha of libel, defamation and inciting people to murder President Mohamed Morsy. Afify was accused of spreading false news, data and rumors that insulted the president, thus disturbing public peace, harming public interest, destabilizing the country and causing people to panic, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Adel al-Saeed.

Saeed said the prosecution examined reports and police investigations for its case. It summoned the defendants for investigations many times, but they refused to attend.

Investigations in the case started last week amid protests from employees of Al-Faraeen channel, which Okasha owns, that were stopped by Egyptian authorities. Afify had said he considered the ordeal a case against press freedom.

State news agency MENA reported investigations into Al-Dostour, a privately owned daily, had been opened after people accused the newspaper of “fueling sedition” and “harming the president through phrases and wording punishable by law.”

State security prosecutors began extensive investigations in three reports filed against the controversial talk show host that accuse him of inciting viewers to attempt to kill Morsy and of supporting a military coup d’etat.

Okasha, who is known for his harsh criticism of the Muslim Brotherhood and the political upswing it has had since the 25 January revolution, has recently stepped up his criticism of the president, saying Morsy’s presence in the presidential palace is illegal.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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